The purpose of the Physiotherapy Code Of Ethics and Practical Conduct (Code) is as a guideline for the clinical practice of physiotherapy. It is intended to ensure that physiotherapy is undertaken in an ethical, professional and humane manner. It also aims to protect physiotherapy clients and carers’ interests and maintain a high standard of practice for physiotherapy. The Code of Ethics is legally binding for all practitioners and carers.
Under the provisions of the Code of Ethics, all physiotherapists must undertake and maintain as part of their professional practice the responsibility to ensure the safety, welfare and well-being of patients who come to them for physiotherapy services. They must be aware that they are responsible for the use of mechanical devices such as machines, infusion pumps and equipment. They must not fail to carry out appropriate tests to ensure that these machines are safe to use. They must not fail to follow the guidelines that they have been provided with by the National Health and Medical Information Authority.
All physiotherapy professionals should have the education, professional skills and experience to provide quality services to their clients. They should have knowledge about the wider community’s needs and concerns and how to meet these needs and expectations. They should be willing to listen carefully and actively to the feedback from their clients. All health professionals involved in physiotherapy services should have the ability to learn new skills, apply their learned skills and apply what they learn to other clients. They should value the opinions of other health professionals, including other therapists, dietitians, medical practitioners, chiropractors, physical therapists and others.
The Code of Ethics also requires health professionals to work in close collaboration with other health professionals, including other physiotherapists, orthopaedic surgeons, psychologists and medical staff. The code of ethics for physiotherapy practice thresholds requires that physiotherapists and orthopaedic surgeons co-operate constructively to provide efficient, quality services to their clients. The code of ethics also requires that they respect the dignity and privacy of patients and act in a respectful and caring way. It also requires them to promptly report any instances of malpractice, negligence or other inappropriate behaviour. Physiotherapists should set high standards for themselves and treat their patients with respect.
The Code of Health and Disability Services Rights 1996, rights 1 also requires that health professionals inform patients of their rights to privacy. It also requires that they provide referrals to other qualified professionals in case of need. In general, the code of health and disability services consumers rights concentrates on the physiotherapy profession. However, this is not a complete statement. Other important areas of interest include mental health, special needs, family health and child welfare.
According to the relevant legislation, the health care professional has an obligation to inform the patient of all relevant information and risks associated with his professional practice. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, he is obliged to protect the confidentiality of all information relating to his health. Any breach of this duty may result in serious sanctions. According to the code, professional physicians and surgeons have to comply with the criteria on diagnosis and treatment provided by the national code. Failure to comply could lead to a criminal investigation or charges being brought against the physician.
The code also requires that physiotherapy practices maintain the highest possible standards. For that purpose, all professionals involved in the practice have to make sure that they are up-to-date with the latest standards. As part of their duty to patients, they have to conduct regular reviews and ensure that the requirements of the code are met. Physiotherapy practitioners have to ensure that they meet the relevant thresholds for registration.