Canada facing growing need for physiotherapy as Canadians get older

Thursday, May 31, 2018 General News
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OTTAWA, May 31, 2018 /CNW/ - The number of Canadian seniors who will access physiotherapy services is forecast to more than

double to reach 1.5 million by 2035, according to a new report by The Conference Board of Canada titled, Aging Well: Implications of an Aging Population for Physiotherapy in Canada.

"For

seniors, the process of aging or even performing day-to-day activities in the home may lead to health conditions that could require physiotherapy services. And with the population aging rapidly, the number of Canadians with these conditions is likely to become more pronounced," said Thy Dinh, Director, Health Economics and Policy, The Conference Board of Canada.

Highlights

  • As the Canadian population ages, the number of seniors with conditions potentially requiring physiotherapy, such as hip and knee replacements, arthritis, stroke and even frailty, will increase.
  • The number of seniors who will access physiotherapy services is expected to jump from 566,000 in 2014 to 1.5 million by 2035.
  • Meeting the rising demand for physiotherapy services will be difficult as physiotherapists are already in short supply.

In 2014, Canadians aged 65 and over made up 15.7 per cent of the population, this is expected to rise to nearly 24 per cent by 2035. As the Canadian population ages, the number of seniors with conditions potentially requiring physiotherapy, such as hip and knee replacements, arthritis, stroke and even frailty, will also increase. As a result, the number of seniors who will access physiotherapy services is expected to jump from 566,000 in 2014 to 1.5 million by 2035.

The aging of the population is also expected to have an impact on seniors' demand for continuing care. Maintenance of mobility, independence and functionality are essential to helping senior stay at home, and this requires physiotherapy services such as exercise classes and fall prevention. The number of seniors needing and receiving continuing care is projected to double by 2035 to 2.9 million.

However, meeting the rising demand for physiotherapy services will be difficult as physiotherapists are already in short supply, especially in rural and remote communities. It will require collaborative efforts among educators, governments, and health care service providers. Strategies to increase the number of physiotherapist and physiotherapist assistants include:

  • ensuring adequate education and training;
  • attention to recruitment and retention practices for rural settings;
  • leveraging existing technologies for service delivery; and
  • fostering innovation in new technologies to improve access.

The report was funded by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and The Conference Board of Canada's Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care.

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A copy of the report is provided for reporting purposes only. Please do not redistribute it or post it online in any form.

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SOURCE Conference Board of Canada



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