Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Links to COVID-19 information and resources are below. In order to be efficient and effective with our support to members please look out for PNZ email updates and links to current information on this web page, that is being informed by our regular contact with Government agencies including the Ministry of Health, ACC and Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand.


NZ COVID Tracer app

The Ministry of Health advise that fast and effective contact tracing is essential to stopping any further spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand. NZ COVID Tracer supports this by creating a digital diary of the places you visit. More about the app is on the Ministry of Health website and business.govt.nz has information for businesses.


COVID-19 Alert Level 2

Updated 11 May 2020

The Government has announced that the country will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 from Thursday 14 May. The following outlines information for physiotherapists operating at Alert Level 2, including Ministry of Health guidelines and processes for conducting in-person appointments.

Alert Level 2 Guidelines

In preparation for the move to Alert Level 2, PNZ has been working with Government agencies including the Ministry of Health (MoH), ACC and the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand. MoH Alert Level 2 guidance, available here.

MoH are requesting that all health services think twice about face to face contact. Telehealth remains the preferred treatment option. This should not prohibit face to face treatments where this is clinically required.

Information from GPs suggests they expect half of appointments will still be telehealth.

Before a face-to-face appointment the following processes need to be in place:

  • Triaging for telehealth as an option
  • Screening for COVID-19 symptoms prior to in-person appointments.
  • Physical distancing measures.
  • Infection prevention control measures including PPE where required.

Specific processes for seeing patients in Alert Level 2 are on the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand website. These identify the specific measures physiotherapy practices are required to take for clinic appointments.

Beyond Alert Level 2

An outline of the COVID-19 Alert System is available at covid19.govt.nz. PNZ is in ongoing contact with the Government about funding through Alert Level 2 and beyond. This includes discussion with ACC regarding telehealth rates, which we’ve asked to be maintained, and a submission to the COVID-19 Epidemic Response Committee highlighting the impact on physiotherapy businesses and reminding MPs about the importance of our profession within primary healthcare. We will have a review of the current alert level in two more weeks.

Work has also now started on guidelines for Alert Level 1, so that we are again ready for when the Government announces further movement.


Older Adult Super Seven Strength and Balance Exercises

In response to COVID-19, a team of DHB clinical leaders identified a need for an exercise programme designed to be done safely at home for older adults known to community services. Collated by Liz Binns and Denise Taylor (AUT University), with input from Ricky Bell (Waikato Institute of Technology), John Parsons (The University of Auckland) and a number of DHB colleagues, the Super Seven Strength and Balance Exercises are available here.


ONCALLbuddy App

Physiotherapists in the UK have recently developed and released the educational ONCALLbuddy app, aimed at physios and other healthcare professionals working in respiratory settings. Promoted by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and supported by Health Education England, the app is available to download at no cost and provides clinicians with easy information and advice about common respiratory conditions, assessment and treatment techniques, and some COVID-19 specific resources. Read more at oncallbuddy.co.uk.


COVID-19 Alert Level 3: Urgent Physiotherapy Appointments  

Updated 23 April 2020

The New Zealand Government has announced that the country will be at Alert Level 3 from Tuesday 28 April. As mentioned in an email sent to PNZ members on 22 April, Alert Level 3 guidance from the Ministry of Health is that most physiotherapy services will continue to be mainly online or over the phone. Some face-to-face physiotherapy services may be provided for urgent appointments only, so long as professionals can take appropriate measures to manage public health risks.

PNZ has worked with the Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand on advice for physiotherapists regarding urgent appointments, including which patients can be seen face-to-face and what process you should follow to see them. This is available here.

Please follow this guidance and advice through COVID-19 Alert Level 3.


Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Suppliers

Please follow the Ministry of Health guidance on the use of PPE. If you are looking to purchase PPE or COVID-19 signage, there are suppliers below who have made it known they can provide equipment for physiotherapists.

  • Whiteley Allcare - the team at Whiteley Allcare are long-time supporters of PNZ and the physiotherapy profession through their partnership in helping deliver Physiotherapy Conference. Please visit allcare.co.nz or email sales@allcare.co.nz.
  • Unispace - PNZ have been contacted by Unispace who are offering members the opportunity to purchase PPE through their global supply chain. Please note that their are minimum quantities when ordering or team up to place an order. Email unispacehealthnz@unispace.com.
  • Exhibition Hire - having helped set-up exhibition hall trade stands at Physiotherapy Conference, Exhibition Hire are offering print packages for COVID-19 signage. Email nicola@ehibitionhire.co.nz.
  • Vendella - this family owned company based in Timaru are suppliers for PPE product throughout New Zealand. Visit vendella.co.nz or email vickie@vendella.co.nz.

Rehabilitative Interventions in COVID-19 Survivors 

This document provides an expert-based opinion on Early and Short-Term Rehabilitative Interventions (After the Acute Hospital Setting) in COVID-19 Survivors. Please note that this is a living document published fortnightly. Information is contained in the document about how input from peers can be sent to the group.


Additional funding available to support the wellbeing of disabled people including people with health and mental health conditions

PNZ received the following information from Work and Income on 17 April 2020.

Kia ora

The Government has made additional funding available to support the wellbeing of disabled people including people with health and mental health conditions by trying to limit the impacts of anxiety and loneliness during the Covid-19 response. This funding is to enable organisations to continue providing support during alert level 4, alert level 3 and any periods of self-isolation.

How can the funding be used?

Organisations can use the funding to:

  • employ additional staff to provide regular support to disabled people and their families/whanau. This support can be provided through a variety of channels including face to face (for essential service providers and following Ministry of Health Guidelines) email, Facebook, texts or phone calls
  • develop resources to provide activities for people at home. This can include setting up and managing private Facebook groups, developing YouTube videos, video conferencing, creating and sending hard copy activity packs, sending art supplies and supporting the develop of peer support networks. We’ve pulled together some ideas from MSD funded providers and have attached them to this email.

Who is the funding for?

Priority will be given to funding organisations supporting disabled people including people with health or mental health conditions who:

  • live alone
  • live with family/whanau
  • are in Contract Board
  • live in a flat; or
  • live in rural or isolated areas

Funding amount

If your application meets the funding criteria you will receive a one of payment of $18,500. You may receive more if you are supporting a large number of people in the priority groups. The funding will be paid as a lump sum.

Reporting

You will be asked to provide a brief report detailing how you have used the funding in early July.

How to apply:

Complete the application form and send it to participation_inclusion_services@workandincome.govt.nz. We will review your application and get back to you if we need more information.


Cardio-Respiratory Special Interest Group Statement

The PNZ Cardio-Respiratory Special Interest Group has issued the following statement relating to a video posted by News Hub/The Herald

9 April 2020

Coronavirus: UK doctor offers breathing technique advice to assist in alleviating COVID-19 symptoms.

A clip has been shared worldwide over the last few days of a doctor from the UK demonstrating a breathing technique and claiming that it assists in alleviating COVID -19 symptoms. Unfortunately the technique demonstrated in this clip is scientifically inaccurate and for a large percentage of the population it could in fact worsen their respiratory symptoms.

The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Respiratory Care (ACRPC) of the UK have tweeted that they “are not in support of this technique for COVID-19 as presentations vary dramatically”.  The Physiotherapy New Zealand Cardio-Respiratory Special Interest Group also does not endorse this video or the techniques demonstrated in it.

Read the full statement here.


Cardio-Respiratory Special Interest Group 

The PNZ Cardio-Respiratory Special Interest Group (CRSIG) have provided the following resources for all physiotherapists.

Updated 6 April 2020

Kia ora,

As we wait to see how the COVID-19 pandemic will play out in New Zealand, we have an opportunity to ensure we are ready to help out if needed, should we be willing and able to. Being willing is, of course, determined by all manner of considerations, and is a hugely personal decision.

Being able requires us to have the necessary skills to be competent in either an acute care or rehabilitation capacity. If you have a respiratory background and/or previous ICU experience and are considering helping out and feel you would benefit from upskilling or refreshing your skills here is a selection of relevant information collated by the Cardio-Respiratory Special Interest Group.

Nga Mihi

Cardio-Respiratory Special Interest Group Committee

Physiotherapy in COVID-19 management guidelines

Open access online cardio-respiratory physiotherapy courses

The Coronavirus Disease Programme is a 4 part course hosted by Physiopedia and is free to sign up and access for a month.

  1. Introduction to Coronovirus
  2. Infection prevention and control
  3. The role of physiotherapy in COVID-19 and
  4. Respiratory management of people with COVID-19.

NSW Physiotherapy Virtual Cardiorespiratory ICU Update with focus on physiotherapy in COVID 19 cases is a 2 day recorded audio with PowerPoint and course resources. The purpose is to provide physiotherapy staff with an update in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy practice for intensive care, and planning for potential roles of physiotherapy in the management of COVID-19 patients in this environment. This two day virtual training course provides a refresher and update for physiotherapy staff working in ICUs with increasing cases of COVID-19 and ventilated patients. This course combines key topics from the APA Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy Level 2 – ICU course and incorporates COVID19 respiratory management based on The Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) COVID-19 Guidelines and COVID-19: Respiratory Physiotherapy On Call Information and Guidance from NHS. Training is best suited to base-mid grade physiotherapists who have prior skills and experience in Intensive Care Units / High Dependency Unit.

The Clinical Skills Development Service is committed to healthcare improvement through training, collaboration and innovation. It has a number of free online cardiorespiratory physiotherapy courses (as well as other physiotherapy courses).

Physiotherapy and Critical Care Management is a course run by the Clinical Skills Development Service and is suited to those with a respiratory skill set. PaCCMan contributes to the learning and development of physiotherapists for work in the intensive care environment and expands their knowledge of contemporary, safe clinical practice. It includes practical sessions on assessment and clinical skills, as well as simulated experiences in providing respiratory care and rehabilitation.

New Zealand Specific COVID-19 resources

Keep up to date with the latest information from the Ministry of Health and review the information around PPE to familiarise yourself see below.


World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) Resources 

WCPT have collated information and resources about COVID-19 for physiotherapists on their website. This includes:


Telehealth Services

Updated 3 April 2020

ACC emailed physiotherapists yesterday evening notifying the profession they have increased telehealth rates for allied health providers including physiotherapists. This is an excellent decision and PNZ would like to thank all our members who helped advocate for this increase. Please read part of the message from ACC below. The full ACC email is available here on their website.

“We are increasing Telehealth rates for allied health providers approved to deliver Telehealth services for as long as we remain at COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and this will be reviewed as alert levels change. Invoices for these services, from 20 March 2020, will be back paid using the updated rates. See important information about this below.

  1. Telehealth rates will be set at the equivalent in-person rates for providers working under the Physiotherapy Services Contract and Hand Therapy Contract.
  2. Telehealth rates for speech & language therapists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists working under the Cost of Treatment Regulations have been increased based on the initial and follow-up rates under the Physiotherapy Services Contract. The difference in rates reflects the additional compliance requirements under contracts. Telehealth is not payable under the Cost of Treatment Regulations, so these payments are made as non-contracted services.

The increased rates acknowledge:

  • the extra time needed for providers and clients to adapt to the new way of working
  • the increased time to undertake a subjective assessment of a client, as components of the objective assessment are unable to be completed
  • the needs of complex patients.

Thank you to those getting in touch about your experiences of Telehealth and different ways of working under COVID-19. We hear that many of you are adjusting well to the use of Telehealth.

For further information regarding ACC requirements please refer to our website.

Back payment of Telehealth services
The new rates will apply for all services provided from 20 March 2020."


Ministry of Health Essential Healthcare Services

Updated 2 April 2020

PNZ has been in lengthy discussions with the Ministry of Health (MoH) on essential services and we’ll continue to advocate on this. MoH essential services are listed here. We have sought Ministry support for efforts to ensure the whole of the primary care sector is assured of business sustainability following the recent announcement of additional funding for GPs.


BMS Insurance

A document from BMS on COVID-19 is available here. Please note the following advice regarding BMS insurance and telehealth services.

"Can I practice Telehealth?

Telehealth is an acceptable practice provided it’s considered within the scope of your individual practice. Your professional indemnity policy with BMS has a jurisdictional limitation within New Zealand. The policy terms and conditions will still apply in the event of a claim."

BMS can be contacted at 0800 999 267 and pnz@bmsgroup.com.


Online Resources

The following online resources link to pages from New Zealand and the World Health Organisation. Links are provided to ensure members are directed to the latest information as these pages are updated.

New Zealand Government

The Ministry of Health (MoH) – includes advice for health professionals

The World Health Organisation (WHO)

    ACC

    Information on International Travel

    Wellbeing

    Translation Service

    • NZTC INTERNATIONAL - The Translation Centre are offering online video and audio interpreting services as an alternative option to face-to-face interpreting. Please contact interpreting@nztcinternational.com.

      Businesses Information

      PNZ has a web page with COVID-19 Business Information and FAQs that you may find helpful. This includes information on the Government COVID-19 economic support package.


      Online Courses

      A number of online courses and webinars have become available for physiotherapists at no cost to help the profession through COVID-19. Below are links to a number of these resources. 

      ONGOING COURSES AND WEBINARS

        Physioplus Courses

        Physioplus is providing an online programme of courses on COVID-19 at no cost. The aim of the course is to provide a practicing physiotherapist with the knowledge, practices and skills to allow them to play a proactive role in global and local efforts to reduce the impact of this pandemic. Read more here.

          University of Melbourne PEAK Programme

          In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the increasing use of telehealth to deliver physiotherapy services, the Centre for Health, Exercise & Sports Medicine at the University of Melbourne has fast-tracked the release of the PEAK (Physiotherapy Exercise and physical Activity for Knee osteoarthritis) programme training modules at no charge. Read more here.

            Cardio-Respiratory Courses

            The Clinical Skills Development Service is committed to healthcare improvement through training, collaboration and innovation. It has a number of no cost online cardiorespiratory physiotherapy courses (as well as other physiotherapy courses). Read more here.

            Physiotherapy and Critical Care Management

            Suited to those with a respiratory skill set, this course contributes to the learning and development of physiotherapists for work in the intensive care environment and expands their knowledge of contemporary, safe clinical practice. It includes practical sessions on assessment and clinical skills, as well as simulated experiences in providing respiratory care and rehabilitation. Read more here.

            RECORDED COURSES AND WEBINARS

            DJO Education Webinar Series

            DJO are offering an Education Webinar series for physiotherapists at no cost, to maintain professional development during COVID-19. Starting on 21 April with content recorded to view later topics include Laser Therapy, Shockwave and Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES). Read more here.

            Employer Webinar

            Humankind hosted a webinar for PNZ members on 1 April, outlining employer obligations and options during COVID-19. A recording of the webinar is available here. There are also links to resources discussed in the webinar including COVID-19 considerations for employers, 1737 – free counselling services for New Zealanders and the Mental Health Foundation website.

            Telehealth Webinars

            Dr Angela Cadogan has provided a Telehealth for Physiotherapists webinar for the profession and Dr Mark Fulcher has developed two telehealth consults webinars on Practical Tips to Get You Up and Running and Assessing the Knee. Read more here.

            Physiotherapy Virtual Cardiorespiratory ICU Update

            This two day recorded audio with PowerPoint and course resources provides physiotherapy staff with an update in cardiorespiratory physiotherapy practice for intensive care, and planning for potential roles of physiotherapy in the management of COVID-19 patients in this environment. Read more here.


              Events

              With members of PNZ hosting a number of events across the country, the information below provides links to advice regarding the COVID-19. Please also contact pnz@physiotherapy.org.nz if you’d like to talk to the PNZ Office about your event.

              The Ministry of Health COVID-19 - Advice for public events and mass gatherings, updated on 26 May 2020, has information on: 

              • a) Private events and gatherings - where you invite people to, or you are invited to, and where you know most people you are with, such as parties, weddings, dinners at restaurants. 
              • b) Public events and gatherings - where you are around strangers and may need to buy tickets to participate in.

              Private events and gatherings can have up to 10 people. Public events organised by a business such as cinemas, theatres, stadiums, concert venues, conference venues and casinos are allowed up to 100 people if they have public health controls in place. Organisers of public events and gatherings should contact MBIE if they have any queries. 

              Organisers of gatherings of any size need to assess the risk to attendees and the community using the following principles to determine whether or not to hold an event or gathering. 

              If you aren’t able to do the following effectively, the event or gathering should not be held. 

              • Can your event support physical distancing?
              • Can your event allow for appropriate handwashing facilities, and keep communal areas such as bathrooms or high-touch surfaces such as door handles and payment machines clean?
              • Can you keep a record of attendance to enable health officials to do contact tracing if needed? 

              An accurate record of attendees would include a person’s full name, their address, an effective means of communicating with them (for example, an active phone number or email address) and the time at which the person arrived and left the event. These records should be held for two months.  

              From 12pm on Friday 29 May new increased limits on gatherings and events will apply. The need for funerals or tangihanga to register via the Ministry of Health will stop. Find out more on the COVID-19 website.


                Member Emails

                PNZ continues to email members regarding COVID-19. For reference these are available here.


                Page updated 27 May 2020