I became a physiotherapist to improve the quality of life of patients and have always been energized by projects that extend our reach and have tangible outcomes. I know there is a lot that this profession has to offer and in my six years with Momentum, I have seen us adopt new technologies and models of care to improve patient outcomes. Unfortunately, Alberta has simultaneously gone through a major economic downturn and a pandemic. This has caused immense pressure on so many patients and sometimes the financial resources to engage with meaningful rehabilitation have simply vanished. So how do we help Albertans move better, with less cost?
We are starting to see more and more success and uptake with group rehab programs, such as “GLA:D Hip & Knee” and “GLA:D Back”. These evidence-based group rehabilitation platforms provide an affordable option for many, while also combining key elements of rehabilitation that are sometimes overlooked such as shared experience, pain education, and guided exercise.
Group based exercise programs are more affordable than 1:1 care and patients can be easily triaged with an initial assessment. These programs are standardized and their outcomes are measured and aggregated so that we can see small scale change on the clinic level as well as national and international outcomes. This allows us to improve the programs and advocate to governments on their effectiveness.
We are now starting to see the positive outcomes from the "GLA:D Hip & Knee" research program. The latest cross-Canada report showed that group rehab significantly improved the quality of life and function of individuals living with osteoarthritis[i]. It's always amazing when you can make an impact in a patient’s life. That's why we become physiotherapists in the first place! But the economic advantages to the healthcare system from programs like this are harder to see immediately.
Imagine if we could reduce the need for surgeries, prescriptions, and medical visits that allow governments to reallocate resources and improve quality of care.
Imagine if we had more standardized programs that improved access for even more Albertans. A shoulder program? A post-whiplash program? A preventative program that conditioned seniors?
What would happen if we built programming where the biopsychosocial model was the basis and education and guided exercises was key, where we measured outcomes consistently across cohorts to help guide progression of program development? Of course, not every patient would be appropriate for a standardized approach. I do not think that group programming would ever replace the need for individualized assessment and treatment, however I feel that it could be a powerful adjunct and improve access for so many.
Sometimes I think that as physiotherapists, we have a hard time looking past only the patient in front of us. I think as a profession we can extend our reach and help make even larger impacts for our patients by adopting more and more evidence-based group rehab solutions.
This is a passion of mine that has translated into the physical space of Momentum Health's newest clinic at Deerfoot City, opening in November 2021. Momentum Health Deerfoot is authentically modern; a testing ground meant to trial new models of care and improve access to meaningful rehabilitation experiences for Calgarians. If you are a clinician who is passionate about having a large impact and pushing further, we want you to join our team. If you are a patient and our mission speaks to you, we would love to see you in the clinic and help you achieve your rehab goals!
Join us in our brand new rehab space in Deerfoot City, with gym and private rooms for Physiotherapy, Chiropractic, Massage Therapy or of course – Group Rehab.
Dan Matchullis is the Clinic Director of our newest location in Deerfoot City.
With over 5 years of experience in the physiotherapy profession, Dan works hard to foster collaboration within multi-disciplinary clinic settings. He brings his management expertise and entrepreneurial spirit to the team, continually seeking innovative ways to expand services offered to best suit the needs of Albertans. He was inspired to join the profession originally by volunteering at an acquired brain injury rehabilitation unit in Winnipeg, which continues to drive his passion for helping patients have meaningful rehabilitation experiences today. Moving to the Calgary area after graduating from the University of Manitoba with a Master of Physical Therapy, he has enjoyed most of his spare time in the mountains. Dan is an avid skier, backpacker, and camping enthusiast and is always ready for a new adventure.
[i] Participant outcomes from intake to 3-month followup after participation in a GLA:D Hip + Knee program (GLA:D Canada Quarterly Report – 2021 Q2)