The definition of urgent/emergent care is important, yet difficult to quantify.  The Saskatchewan College of Physical Therapists obtained legal advice, as well as direction from the ministry of health, to create the Practice Guideline below.  This will be the foundation for treatment by physiotherapists and chiropractors providing in person care at Brownstone Health during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  It is incredibly important to us, as a clinic, that we follow these guidelines explicitly.   

Simply put, please book an emergent appointment if you are otherwise healthy and:

1. you have injured yourself and are contemplating going to the emergency department, primary health clinic or a hospital, we would like to help prevent overloading of an acute care system preparing for an influx of patients with the virus, by assessing musculoskeletal injury.

2. you have a condition that is going to get much much worse (to the point that you can not function) if you don't receive immediate care, we would like to help.

3. you have recently had surgery or an alternate medical procedure and require follow-up care in order to have a favourable outcome.



Here is the information provided by our Regulatory Body:

SCPT Practice Guideline

Determination of “urgent services or procedures” (COVID-19)



The Chief Medical Health Officer for Saskatchewan issued a Public Health Order (PHO) on March 26, 2020 in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic, prohibiting certain activities and ordering closures of some businesses. Clause 2(d) of the PHO orders all physical therapy clinics to only provide “urgent services or procedures” in person.


As always, all physical therapists are expected to work within the requirements of the Orders of the Government of Saskatchewan and the Federal Government, Legislation, SCPT bylaws, Standards of Practice and Code of Ethical Conduct.


Given the variety of practice settings and patient types, what is “urgent” may be defined differently in different settings. Therefore, the practitioner’s professional and ethical judgement to determine what is considered urgent with regards to their individual patients and situations will be imperative.


This Practice Guideline provides assistance to practitioners to make that determination.


Guiding principles and factors to consider in determining urgency

According to SCPT legal advice, a guiding principle in the decision making should be will the failure to provide the service or procedure result in serious harm to the patient.


Some factors to consider in determining urgency of care are:





-        Would a physical therapy assessment or treatment allow for more efficient utilization of acute healthcare resources?  

-        Physiotherapists who are employed by Saskatchewan Health Authority are essential services. Physiotherapists that work in that setting must take direction from their employers to guide decision making.


Services or procedures provided to patients with these characteristics may be characterized as being of greater urgency.


Risk versus benefit of treatment

Physical therapists should also keep in mind the following provisions of the Code of Ethical Conduct: 


7. Physical therapists shall not treat clients when the medical diagnosis or clinical condition indicates that the commencement or continuation of physical therapy is not warranted or is contraindicated;


8. Physical therapists shall request consultation with, or refer clients to, colleagues or members of other health professions when, in the opinion of the physical therapist, such action is in the best interest of the client.


Thus, if a patient possesses risk factors for the development of severe disease from COVID-19 (age over 60, co-morbid conditions, immunocompromised, etc.) this may mean that the risk of in-person physiotherapy service delivery is greater than the likelihood of benefit, in which case, in-person services should be deferred and appropriate referrals/education should be made.



In each case the physical therapist shall document their rationale as to how and why they made the determination that the provision of physical therapy services or procedures to a patient was urgent or not urgent.



It is recommended that, prior to providing any physical therapy services or procedures:




Treatment Precautions