Updated Thursday, March 26
WCB Nova Scotia is committed to doing our part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Following the direction from public health officials, most physical clinics have been directed to close except for emergency and urgent care, including physiotherapy, psychology, chiropractic services, audiology, occupational therapy, and many others.
In these cases, protecting the health of the worker, and the service provider, is of paramount importance.
All Nova Scotians should be following the guidelines set out by the federal and provincial governments.
Some physiotherapy clinics and other health services offices and facilities are choosing to close. Others may be operating on a reduced basis to offer emergency and urgent care or offering virtual services, where appropriate. Other times, workers may not be comfortable attending appointments, or are self-isolating for various reasons. In these very unique circumstances, benefit payments will not be impacted by the inability for a treatment to be provided, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the ultimate decision with regard to emergency and urgent care will be one the provider and the worker make together, in consultation and approval by the Case Worker, we urge that social distancing, and all directives of public health are followed.
Specifically for physiotherapists, the Nova Scotia College of Physiotherapy has released care guidelines in response to help their members. As noted, emergency care is unlikely to apply to physiotherapy. Urgent care is that which requires immediate attention. Physical assessments and functional evaluations do not meet the definition of urgent care according to the guidelines.
There may be alternate service delivery options such as virtual sessions or home exercise treatment available. Flexible delivery of services from a distance may enable recovery to continue, even while on site appointments are not possible. WCB Nova Scotia encourages this practice, again, guided by the direction of public health officials and professional practice guidelines governing service delivery.
As always, we are committed to the principles of safe, healthy return to work. Physiotherapy, chiropractic services, mental health treatments, occupational therapy, and many other health services are often critical parts of the return-to-work process.
We encourage service providers, workers and their families to exercise best practice and good judgement, as we move through these unprecedented times together.