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Short course in Physiotherapy for COVID-19 Patients

2 ethics 13 clinical Points Only Scholarship Access

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At least 15-20% of all patients with COVID-19 disease will require hospitalisation and of those 4-5% will require further intensive respiratory support, such as non-invasive oxygen therapy and in severe cases, mechanical ventilation. The most common complications in severe COVID-19 patients, are bilateral pneumonia, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), multiple organ failure and cardiac complications. The high-risk groups such as the elderly, the patients with diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and those that are immuno-compromised are especially vulnerable. In the continuum of care for these patients the role of the physiotherapist is vital to restore functionality and implement a programme of rehabilitation.

This course is targeting physiotherapists to upskill them in providing respiratory support for COVID-19 patients and designing a rehabilitation programme prior to and post discharge.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the epidemiology, mode of transmission, clinical manifestations, and treatment of COVID-19 patients.
  2. Describe how to select and use the correct PPE for optimal protection in a COVID environment.
  3. Differentiate between and describe the different physiotherapy approaches to treating COVID-19 patients.
  4. Differentiate between the different physiotherapy specific and in general respiratory support modalities and interventions available in acute care (NIPPV and mechanical ventilation).
  5. Provide a comprehensive analysis of the rehabilitation interventions available and indicated for COVID-19 patients. Select the appropriate rehabilitation strategy to address each patient’s unique needs.
  6. Formulate clear criteria for hospital discharge and introduce post-COVID sporting and other activities of daily living.
  7. Identify and apply ethical principles in making decisions on the management and allocation of healthcare resources in COVID-19 patients.

Who Should Enroll

The target audience is all physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants and bio-kineticists involved in respiratory support activities across Africa.

Course Design

Online course with interactive activities

Course Content

Module 1: Introduction to the epidemiology, clinical manifestations and management in COVID-19 patients.
Overview of SARS-COV-2, the clinical presentations, transmission, infection control procedures required and indications for hospitalisation.

Module 2: Procedures to minimise risk of contamination and transmission: PPE for optimal protection.
Protection and implementation of PPE, donning and doffing, hand hygiene, infection control procedures, aerosol generating procedures and protective measure for physiotherapists, equipment re-use; Decontamination procedure.

Module 3: Physiotherapy approach in treating COVID-19 patients.
Classification, Screening, rehabilitation for COVID-19 patients, telehealth and respiratory physiotherapy techniques.

Module 4: General physiotherapy interventions in acute care.
Care in the acute care setting, identification and management of the different stages in COVID-19, risk and respiratory assessment of patients, complications in hospitalised care and ARDS. Basics of mechanical ventilation and non-invasive ventilation for the COVID-19 patient.

Module 5: Rehabilitation for COVID-19 patients. Physiotherapy rehabilitation and mobilisation for patients and caregivers, the multi-disciplinary team approach, muskulo-skeletal, neurological, psychological assessment of the COVID-19 patient.
Ventilator management: Understand the specific ventilator in use; Case study

Module 6: Managing the post-discharge period of the COVID-19 patient.
Hospital discharge criteria and first 6 weeks home-based care and support, flexibility exercises, strength exercises, aerobic exercises and taking up sporting activities.

Module 7: Ethical Issues around respiratory support in a COVID-19 environment
Ethical principles; Management of limited resources; Ethical dilemmas in COVID-19; Case study


To qualify for a certificate all participants will be assessed through Multiple Choice Questions after each module.
Accredited according to the HPCSA’s Medical and Dental Board Guidelines for Healthcare Professionals for 13 Clinical CEU’s and 2 Ethical CEU’s on Level 2.


Funding was made possible by the generous support of the American people from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through Right to Care, a leading regional health systems strengthening organization.


Tel: 087 821 1109

E-mail: healthscinece@foundation.co.za

Address: P.O. Box 75324, Lynnwood Ridge, 0040

Website: www.foundation.co.za

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