Jenni discusses who is appropriate for in-person vs virtual physiotherapy sessions during COVID-19 and defines “urgent care”.


From the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario

What constitutes urgent care?

This has been a popular question we have been asked. At this time, health professionals, including PTs have been directed by the Ontario government to limit in-person care to when the patient is deemed to be urgent.

The College believes that urgent care includes assessment and therapeutic intervention or services for conditions or situations where not receiving physiotherapy services (whether in-person or virtually) would put the patient’s safety at risk, or there is potential for significant harm or significant adverse patient outcomes.

Significant harm or adverse outcomes means the patient may be at risk of hospital admission or re-admission, long-term incapacity, or harm. Specifically, situations which could be considered urgent under this definition include:

  • A patient who is currently experiencing incapacitating neuromusculoskeletal dysfunction or pain.
  • Any scenario where the inability to initiate care or the withdrawal of care would lead to the significant deterioration of a patient’s condition and the patient is at risk for imminent hospital admission or readmission.
  • Post-operative care immediately following surgery when necessary for cardiorespiratory and essential functional mobilization as an inpatient to prevent the delay of a patient being discharged home to the community.
  • Follow-up immediately post-discharge from hospital to the community to ensure safe return to home and prevent re-admission to the hospital.
    A patient who has suffered burns that are incapacitating in nature.
  • The patient is an individual such as a health care provider in an essential service in an acute care setting or other setting deemed to be essential, whose injury or condition requires physiotherapy care to return to work safely as soon as possible.