Physiotherapy is a healthcare profession that works with people to identify and maximise their ability to move and function. Functional movement is a key part of what it means to be healthy. This means that physiotherapy plays a key role in enabling people to improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.
Physiotherapists use their professional knowledge and practical skills, together with thinking skills and skills for interaction in their day-to-day practice. This combination of knowledge and skills means that practitioners can work in partnership with the individual and other people involved with that person. Physiotherapists recognise that physical, psychological, social and environmental factors can limit movement and function. They use their knowledge and skills to identify what is limiting an individual's movement and performance, and to help individuals decide how to address their needs.
Physiotherapy's values means that practice is person-centred, ethical and effective. The evidence-base underpinning physiotherapy is constantly evolving as practitioners develop new knowledge and understanding through critical reflection, evaluation and research. This evolving evidence base supports the use and development of physiotherapy's scope of practice. The Royal Charter gives physiotherapy a broad scope of practice that includes manual therapy, exercise and movement, electrotherapy and other physical approaches.
Physiotherapy is an autonomous profession. This means that physiotherapists can accept referrals for assessment from a range of sources: from an individual themselves (self-referral) or from other people involved with that individual. Physiotherapy can offer a range of interventions, services and advice to improve individuals' health and wellbeing. Physiotherapy works to maximise an individual's movement capability at three different levels. It can help maintain and improve the body's movement and function by offering treatment when someone is acutely ill in hospital. It can also improve someone's function and independence (at home, at work) by offering rehabilitation and advice. It can also enhance their performance and participation (in their community and wider society) by offering advice and by challenging the environmental or social barriers that limit participation.
Physiotherapy's strong clinical leadership and adaptable workforce means that it can deliver high quality innovative services that are accessible, effective and efficient. Physiotherapy maintains strong links between clinical and academic settings. This means that the profession responds to developments in practice, education or research, and actively ensures its workforce continues to be fit for purpose.