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Frequently Asked Questions

Why see a physiotherapist?

Physiotherapists (or physical therapists) are registered health care professionals educated in the science of movement. Whether recovering from surgery, managing a chronic illness, or dealing with a sports injury, physiotherapists restore, maintain and improve a patient's mobility and function. As part of your health care team, you will find physiotherapists working alongside physicians and nurses in hospitals, long-term care facilities and community clinics.

Learn more about how a physiotherapist can help you on the following websites:
Canadian Physiotherapy Association 
Move Forward (American Physiotherapy Association)

Will I need a referral from my physician?

No, you do not need a referral from your physician. Physiotherapists are primary care providers. This means that you can see a physiotherapist without a doctor's referral. However, some insurance companies require a doctor's referral for reimbursement.

At the North York General Assessment and Wellness Centre — Outpatient Physiotherapy, we welcome all patients in the community.

Will extended health care coverage (health insurance) cover the treatment?

Yes, if your insurance company qualifies for direct billing, you will only be required to pay the amount that is not covered by your plan. Please check with your insurance company regarding your coverage for physiotherapy. All physiotherapy sessions are issued a receipt which includes all pertinent information required for reimbursement.

Are your physiotherapy services covered by OHIP?

No, outpatient physiotherapy services at the North York General Assessment and Wellness Centre are not covered by OHIP.

Locate an OHIP registered clinic and determine your eligibility.

Cancellation and late arrival policy

As a courtesy to other patients who may need an appointment, we ask that you provide 24 hours notice to our clinic regarding any appointment rescheduling or cancellation.
  • After two missed appointments without notice, any pre-booked appointments will need to be cancelled and your referring physician will be informed regarding your absence before any future appointments can be rescheduled.
  • If you are late for a scheduled appointment, every attempt will be made to accommodate your treatment session as best as possible, but please understand that your session may need to be shortened in order to accommodate waiting patients. Fees for the session will remain unchanged.

Your first visit

On your first visit, please arrive 5-10 minutes before your session begins to complete our registration process. You will be asked to fill in an admission form with contact information.

For your first appointment:
  • Please bring your doctor's referral (if you have been given one)
  • Please bring your insurance information (policy and ID number).
  • Wear loose comfortable clothing for your examination and for exercise.


For the initial assessment, your physiotherapist will take a detailed history regarding the history of your injury, your overall health, and the goals that you want to achieve. They will then perform a physical examination, discuss the findings with you, and develop a treatment program for you. Your treatment program will start within this first session and may involve physiotherapy assistants and manual therapy (hands-on therapy), home exercises, and the use of modalities (ice, heat, TENS, ultrasound).

Initial assessments take approximately one hour.

For more information on what to expect watch a video from the College Of Physiotherapists of Ontario:
What is physiotherapy and your first visit.


Follow-up sessions

The same physiotherapist from your initial assessment will do a check-in to see how you are doing. This consistent "check-in" is important to ensure you are recovering in an ideal manner. Adjustments in your plan of care may be made to ensure you are progressing quickly but not exacerbating your symptoms. Afterwards, you will see a physiotherapy assistant who will review your exercise program and help you with any modalities that can aid in your recovery.

Follow-up sessions take approximately 30-45 minutes.

How many sessions of physiotherapy will I need?

Many factors will determine the length of your recovery, such as the length of time since your initial injury or surgery, your medical history, severity of your condition and your goals of care. Your treatment program may vary from a few visits over the course of a few weeks to multiple visits over a few months. Your physiotherapist will advise you following your initial assessment.

Patients are usually seen one to two times per week, with the frequency of visits decreasing as you progress through your stages of recovery and your condition improves.

Stages of recovery

We have found it helpful for patients to divide their recovery into three stages.

Stage 1 is focused on restoring basic movements, range of motion and controlling any acute pain and inflammation. For example:

  • Can you walk without limping?
  • How much can you bend your knee?
  • Can you raise your arm above your head?
  • How much pain and swelling do you have in your joint?
Stage 2 is focused on progressing the basic movements you've achieved with further strengthening and functional activities. For example:
 
  • Can you walk up and down stairs without pain?
  • Can you squat and crouch evenly on both legs?
  • How heavy of an object can you lift above your head without pain?

Stage 3 involves further refinement of your range of motion, strength and function restored so far. This stage can often involve more hands-on therapy, dynamic exercises and stretches. For example:

  • Are you able to run and jump?
  • Can you hop on one leg without pain?
  • Have you been able to return to work, participate in your recreational hobby or sport?

Depending on certain factors such as the time since your initial injury and the severity of your condition, patients will find themselves in different stages of recovery.

Your treatment sessions are reevaluated and modified constantly to ensure you are responding to your treatment and that you are progressing through the stages of recovery without exacerbating your symptoms.

What should I look for in a physiotherapy clinic?

The success of your rehabilitation depends on the knowledge, skills and experience of your rehabilitation team, as well as being in a supportive environment provided during your recovery. Physiotherapy is an active process that should include active exercises to restore your functional abilities. Your rehabilitation team should be spending time on educating and ensuring your comfort with an active rehabilitation program. You should be involved in your plan of care, and your physiotherapist should spend the time listening to your concerns and needs in order to develop the best course of action.

At our outpatient physiotherapy clinic, we pride ourselves on meeting such obligations to achieve the highest level of service excellence. As the trusted provider of outpatient physiotherapy for North York General Hospital, we work closely with orthopaedic surgeons offering our knowledge and experience managing patients with postsurgical and other rehabilitation needs.