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Judith Stanfield
April 17, 2020

A Message from OrthoCanada’s Founder in a Time of Pandemic

At a time like this, how does one adjust and help others to adjust quickly? How does the new paradigm, physical or social distancing, fit with the practice of physiotherapy?
Our world is changing. Initially, the tendency is to make only the most essential concessions to adapt to the new reality. But in fact, we will have to learn how to balance reward and risk for everything we engage – from social gatherings to clinical practice.
Clinic practices will need to be adjusted, but how? Will wearing face masks and glasses in public be adopted? Will both patients and therapists be required to wash their hands with a hand sanitizer as they greet each other? Will clinics see fewer patients in a larger space? Will some PT sessions take part virtually following in- person assessments? Will telehealth be the new norm for community care? All are possible scenarios.
The most important challenge we face will be to change our mind set as a people and as a profession. We now must adapt, or die, just like the viruses. Once we’ve moved through this first COVID-19 tsunami, recurring waves of illnesses are expected. Let’s encourage local manufacturing of pandemic supplies and develop a disaster scenario to help quick adaptation in future emergencies.
It will be difficult, but not unworkable. Most will make it through this, and will learn to make intelligent changes that minimize or mitigate the effect of the next waves. A welcome bonus could be meeting environmental goals.
I encourage you to remember that we boost our spirits by allowing ourselves to feel grateful for the wonder of life and love. Practice emotional wellness and share this with others. Notice how amazing our natural world is. Cultivate learning. Breathe deeply.
Physiotherapists are resilient and problem solvers by definition. It is entirely possible to emerge from this pandemic as a wiser community. I feel a spark of hope and a hint of curiosity for what the future will bring.
The OrthoCanada team sends best wishes to everyone,
Judith Stanfield
Class of ’72, Physiotherapy, Queen’s University
Founder, OrthoCanada


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