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Physiother Can. 2012 Spring;64(2):178-87. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2011-19. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Weekend physiotherapy practice in community hospitals in Canada.

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  • 1Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto.


in English, English, French


To analyze weekend physiotherapy services in acute-care community hospitals across Canada.


Questionnaires were mailed to acute-care community hospitals (institutions with >100 inpatient beds, excluding psychiatric, mental health, paediatric, rehabilitation, tertiary, and long-term care facilities) across Canada from January to April 2010. The questionnaire collected information on patient referral criteria, staffing, workload, and compensation for weekend physiotherapy services and on the availability of other rehabilitation health professionals.


Of 146 community hospitals deemed eligible, 104 (71%) responded. Weekend physiotherapy was offered at 69% of hospitals across Canada, but this rate varied: ≥75% in all regions except Quebec (30%). Hospitals with a high proportion of acute-care beds were more likely to offer weekend physiotherapy services (logistic regression, p=0.021). Services differed among Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays in terms of the numbers of both physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants working (Kruskal-Wallis, p<0.02 for each). Physiotherapists were predominantly compensated via time off in lieu. Of hospitals not offering weekend physiotherapy, 53% reported that it would benefit patients; most perceived staffing and financial barriers. Social-work services were offered on the weekend at 24% of hospitals and occupational therapy at 16%.


Substantial regional variation exists in access to weekend physiotherapy services in acute-care community hospitals. To address the importance of this variation, research on the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of such services is required.


delivery of health care; health services research; hospitals, community; hôpitaux, communautaires, communauté; prestation de soins; recherche en soins de santé; rehabilitation; réadaptation

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