Physiotherapy assistant
Therapists

A physiotherapy assistant helps a physiotherapist in using a variety of treatments to increase a patient's mobility.

Ideal candidates are caring, patient people with an interest in health and physical education.

A physiotherapy assistant will work alongside a qualified physiotherapist and provide support to help patients with reduced mobility. A physiotherapist uses movement, exercise and a range of equipment to help patients increase their mobility. They work with patients suffering from reduced movement due to disability, illness, or age.

Work Activities

A physiotherapy assistant's tasks may include:

  • talking to patients and preparing them for their treatment
  • helping patients to dress and undress
  • showing patients how to use mobility aids
  • helping patients with their exercises
  • monitoring and taking notes during their session
  • setting up equipment
  • dealing with enquiries
  • providing reports to physiotherapists
  • checking and maintain equipment
  • general administrative tasks

Typical working hours

A physiotherapy assistant will generally work around 37.5 hours per week, and could sometimes involve working weekends or shifts. It can be either a full-time role or part-time hours.

Physiotherapy assistants usually work for the NHS in a hospital physiotherapy department, or private clinic. They can also visit people in their own homes or at health centres. Some physiotherapists work for charities or voluntary organisations.

Career progression

With experience and further qualifications, a physiotherapy assistant could become a senior physiotherapy support worker, or assistant practitioner. Working as a physiotherapy assistant might also be a way of getting into this area of work and then with further training and a qualification becoming a fully trained physiotherapist.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for physiotherapy assistants

  • Being positive and friendly
  • Being sensitive and kind
  • Being physically able to help lift patients and move equipment.
  • Good at communicating and listening
  • The ability to give support and reassurance
  • The ability to encourage and motivate patients
  • Patience and empathy
  • The ability to get on well with people from all backgrounds and of all ages
  • The ability to work alone or as part of a team

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of physiotherapy assistants

  • The NHS – in Physiotherapy Departments and Health Centres
  • Private sports clinics
  • Local and professional sports clubs and sports centres
  • Nursing homes
  • Community centres
  • Charities
  • Industrial organisations
  • Special schools

Jobs are advertised in national newspapers and specialist publications such as Frontline, and Physiotherapy Journal, and their respective websites.

Qualifications

Qualifications and training required

There are no formal entry requirements but a good general education is expected including GCSEs in Maths, English and Science. Training is likely to be on-the-job and should provide some knowledge of anatomy, physiology, massage and physical therapy. There are modern apprenticeships that offer BTEC, or NVQ qualifications in these areas, such as the NVQ Level 3 in health: allied health profession support (physiotherapy). In Scotland an SVQ in Health Care Support at level 2 or 3 may be useful. Another option after completing the necessary studies is to join a professional body of group like the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). Previous experience in a caring role or healthcare setting would also be highly useful. Volunteer Scotland offer some voluntary physiotherapy assistant opportunities

Ideal candidates for this role are caring, patient people with an interest in health and physical education.

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