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.
COVID-19 Alert Level 1
Updated 9 June 2020
Like the rest of the country, we’re very pleased that New Zealand has moved to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 as of 11:59pm on Monday 8 June. Thank you again for all your support through the Government alert levels and commitment to our profession.
The following outlines information for physiotherapists operating at Alert Level 1 and ongoing work by PNZ to support members through COVID-19.
Operating at Alert level 1
The Ministry of Health identifies that the move to Alert Level 1 enables physiotherapists to provide services similarly to pre COVID-19. At Alert Level 1 community allied health services can return to normal with the following recommendations:
- Enable contact tracing e.g. NZ COVID-19 tracer app
- Discouraging patients to attend appointments when they are sick e.g. screening prior to appointment, public messaging
- Good infection prevention control measures are in place such as frequent hand washing and cleaning
- Physical distancing is not required but is encouraged where possible
The Physiotherapy Board of New Zealand has indicated that there will not be more detailed guidance for physiotherapists operating at Alert Level 1 beyond those provided by MoH above.
The Government uniteforrecovery.govt.nz website highlights that:
- At Alert Level 1, everyone can return without restriction to work, school, sports and domestic travel, and you can get together with as many people as you want.
- Controls at the borders remain for those entering New Zealand, including health screening and testing for all arrivals, and mandatory 14 day managed quarantine or isolation.
- As we unite to recover from the effects of COVID-19, it's still important that we keep the basic hygiene measures, including washing your hands and coughing or sneezing into your elbow.
- We should all continue to keep track of where we’ve been and who we’ve seen to assist with rapid contact tracing if it is required. Businesses should help customers to keep track of where they’ve been by displaying the NZ COVID Tracer QR code poster.
Health and Disability Services
MoH acknowledge that people attending a health or disability service may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 for a range of reasons. That is why it is important for health and disability services to continue to maintain infection prevention and control measures, and to collect information from patients and other people interacting with patients at their services.
Health and disability services will be running as normal under Alert Level 1 but some precautions will be in place to protect people who are vulnerable to severe COVID-19 from exposure to the virus. Read more on the MoH website.
Advocating for Physiotherapy
We continue to advocate for ACC to maintain current telehealth rates through Alert Level 1 and will share official announcement on this, as well as decisions regarding any permanent changes to telehealth provisions, when available from ACC.
PNZ is also advocating for increased health funding of physiotherapy through and beyond the COVID-19 alert levels. A positioning statement has been written for Government on the essential value of Physiotherapy for New Zealand and encouraging further investment. The statement is available at pnz.org.nz and follows a report from economic consultancy NZIER.
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.
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 email@example.com.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Exhibition Hire - having helped set-up exhibition hall trade stands at Physiotherapy Conference, Exhibition Hire are offering print packages for COVID-19 signage. Email email@example.com.
- Vendella - this family owned company based in Timaru are suppliers for PPE product throughout New Zealand. Visit vendella.co.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
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.
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 email@example.com. 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
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.
Cardio-Respiratory Special Interest Group Committee
Physiotherapy in COVID-19 management guidelines
- Physiotherapy Management for COVID-19 in the Acute Hospital Setting. This document outlines recommendations for physiotherapy management for COVID-19 in the acute hospital setting. It includes recommendations for physiotherapy workforce planning and preparation, a screening tool for determining requirement of physiotherapy, recommendations for the selection of physiotherapy treatments and personal protective equipment
- Respiratory physiotherapy in patients with COVID-19 infection in acute setting: Italian Respiratory Physiotherapists. Consensus between Italian Physiotherapists with specific expertise in respiratory care working with COVID-19 patients in the north of Italy.
- Joint statement on the role of respiratory rehabilitation in the COVID 19 crisis– the Italian position paper
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.
- Introduction to Coronovirus
- Infection prevention and control
- The role of physiotherapy in COVID-19 and
- 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)
WCPT have collated information and resources about COVID-19 for physiotherapists on their website. This includes:
- A Telehealth Toolbox guide on How to use telehealth to care for your patients during COVID-19.
- WCPT and INPTRA joint report on digital physical therapy practice.
- The Physiopedia free online programme of COVID-19 courses: Understanding COVID-19, Infection Prevention and Control, Role of Physiotherapy in COVID-19 and Respiratory Management of COVID-19.
- 30 days free access to Physioplus.
- The WCPT network for physiotherapy educators Facebook group.
- WCPT have also sent an email with COVID-19 information and resources to member organisations and published a press release as part of the World Health Professions Alliance, which WCPT is a partner of.
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.
- Telehealth rates will be set at the equivalent in-person rates for providers working under the Physiotherapy Services Contract and Hand Therapy Contract.
- 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 New Zealand Government website (Govt.nz) links to Unite Against COVID-19 (covid19.govt.nz) intended as a single resource for COVID-19 information.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) – includes advice for health professionals
- Please visit the Ministry of Health website for the latest information from MoH on COVID-19, including media releases. MoH has pages for current updates and resources for health professionals.
- MoH have COVID-19 - information in multiple languages, including New Zealand Sign Language, and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples has information for Pacific People in New Zealand.
- A MoH poster on how to protect yourself and others is available here. The Canterbury District Health Board have also provided a poster for practices, available in a number of sizes and formats on the Canterbury Primary Response Group website.
The World Health Organisation (WHO)
- The World Health Organisation website also has a page with information about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), including advice to people on how to protect themselves and those around them.
- PNZ is in regular communication with ACC and our Clinical Partner Melissa Barry. The ACC website has a pages with important information about novel coronavirus COVID-19 as well as ACC COVID-19 information for providers and ACC Provider COVID-19 updates.
- ACC service item codes and rates for telehealth invoices are available here.
Information on International Travel
- For information on international travel, please refer to updates from Immigration New Zealand, The New Zealand Customs Service and Air New Zealand.
- The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand have a web page on looking after mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19. This includes free call and text numbers to speak with a trained counsellor.
- NZTC INTERNATIONAL - The Translation Centre are offering online video and audio interpreting services as an alternative option to face-to-face interpreting. Please contact email@example.com.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
PNZ continues to email members regarding COVID-19. For reference these are available here.
Page updated 9 June 2020