Group Physiotherapy: An Effective and Affordable Alternative to Individual Care

Physiotherapy is an essential component of quality healthcare that helps individuals recover from injuries and chronic conditions, improves mobility, and promotes overall well-being. While individualised physiotherapy assessment and treatment are required at the outset of a treatment plan, lack of alternative options may be limiting the success for many.  

Group physiotherapy, as an alternative, has gained popularity as a comparable and effective way to provide care for different conditions, including pelvic health concerns. In this blog, we will explore how group physiotherapy is comparable to in-person physiotherapy, while also providing additional social and financial benefits.

Research Supports Group Physiotherapy as Comparable

A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that group physiotherapy is as effective as individual care for those with chronic lower back pain, reducing pain and improving function . Another study published in the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy found that group physiotherapy was equally effective in improving balance and reducing falls in older adults . Even for pelvic health concerns such as urinary incontinence requiring pelvic floor retraining, studies show similar improved symptoms and quality of life whether individual or group care

While individualized physio assessment and treatment is still required and will continue to be a foundational component of quality health care, group physiotherapy can be a beneficial supplement for certain conditions. For instance, if you have a chronic condition that requires ongoing physiotherapy, attending a group class can help you maintain the progress you have made in individual sessions – especially as your function and symptoms improve, and you require less supervision, evaluation or hands-on therapies. 

Additionally, group care can provide exceptional preventative care for many, limiting future acute care needs. Prenatal prevention and postnatal care are great examples of certain clinical populations that would benefit greatly from care with community.

Comparison of cost & social elements of progressing as a group

Cost is a significant factor that can prevent individuals from accessing physiotherapy services. However, group physiotherapy can be a more affordable alternative to individualized care. The cost of a physiotherapy treatment plan varies across the provinces, but on average, an assessment, treatment, and re-assessment can cost anywhere from $105-$160 per session. In contrast, attending a group physiotherapy class can cost between $45 and $50 per session.

Social elements are another benefit of group physiotherapy. Progressing as a group provides an opportunity to connect with individuals who are experiencing similar concerns and journeys. This helps to reinforce positive habits among a community having a similar experience, while also improving independence and self-efficacy. In addition, social support can be encouraging, motivating, and inspiring, which can make the healing process more enjoyable and successful.

Supporting a Need for Diverse Treatment Options

Physically, combining the supervision of individualized care with the social support provided by small group classes may improve motivation to and success of integrating healthy lifestyle habits. 

Further, some individuals may struggle with accountability pertaining to their physio rehab journey. Group physiotherapy is an excellent way of scheduling and participating in more guided movement time, ensuring that exercises are performed correctly, and progress is tracked.

Finally, group physiotherapy can be a more financially accessible option, especially for those who can’t afford care or don’t have access to private health benefits, such as pre and postnatal individuals where income is often not at 100%.

In Conclusion...

In conclusion, group physiotherapy is a comparable and effective way to provide care for different conditions. While individualized physio assessment and treatment remain foundational for personalized care, group physiotherapy can be a beneficial supplement. With the added benefits of social support, financial and psychosocial diverse options to meet individuals where they are at. Especially when compared to the cost of individualised care, group physiotherapy should be considered as an option to provide quality physical therapy.