A multidisciplinary approach involves drawing from multiple disciplines to reach solutions by gathering a broader understanding of a problem. In rehabilitation, this means occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and kinesiologists collaborating on specific client-centered injuries.
Benefits of a Multidisciplinary Approach
The benefit of a multidisciplinary team is to get multiple viewpoints on a situation or problem, and collaborate to achieve the best outcome. A certified kinesiologist, in collaboration with a physiotherapist, who specializes in alleviating barriers to physical function, can design a rehabilitation program to address individual injuries.
Both professionals coordinate with an occupational therapist, who acts as the quarterback of the team. They will oversee all functional outcomes, plan and coordinate rehabilitation, obtain aids and specialized equipment, evaluate and modify the home, school, or work environment, and provide recommendations for homecare assistance.
How Kinesiologists, Physiotherapists, and Occupational Therapists Collaborate
A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury which occurs after an impact to the head or the sudden shaking of the head. Statistics Canada reports that concussions in Canada have significantly increased since the early 2000’. Treating a concussion with a multidisciplinary team can be the best way to decrease overall recovery time.
After obtaining medical clearance from a doctor, the individual who has suffered a concussion may be recommended to consult with an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist will assess and provide recommendations for active rehabilitation with a certified kinesiologist. A kinesiologist can design an exercise program consisting of light aerobic activity as early as 2-3 weeks after the injury. Starting exercise any sooner could prolong the length of symptoms.
People who have sustained a concussion often have vestibular or neck symptoms. A physiotherapist can provide manual therapies, electrotherapeutic techniques, and dry-needling to help relieve such symptoms.
During the rehabilitation process, an occupational therapist will also help modify the home and workplace to make it optimum for recovery. This may mean providing specialized equipment such as an ergonomic chair, sit-to-stand desk, or a soft-stand matt. In cases where the individual’s post-concussive symptoms restrict home maintenance and daily function, the occupational therapist can recommend homecare, nursing aides, and psychological counsel.
Having a multidisciplinary team consisting of an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, and kinesiologist providing an integrated and coordinated rehabilitation program can decrease overall recovery time, and ensure that the individual overcomes all barriers for returning to work, daily living, and leisure pursuits.