Aquatic physiotherapy during the pandemic

A brief overview of what services you can offer and on what basis.

Hydrotherapy pools in England

 The CSP has gained confirmation from Public Health England that physiotherapy is included in the definition medical and health services in relation to any period of Covid lockdown.

 All relevant public health rules relating to social distancing, risk assessment and PPE must be followed to keep clinicians and patients as safe as possible.

Hydrotherapy pools can open for aquatic physiotherapy as usual, following Covid-19 safety recommendations. If the hydrotherapy pool is part of a leisure or school facility, please refer to the infection control policy of the leisure or school facility along side national guidance.

Hydrotherapy pools in Scotland

Hydrotherapy pools in Scotland can re-open. ATACP guidance should be followed in line with the medium risk pathway which all patients attending the pool should be on. From a national perspective physiotherapy services should use this guidance with 2 key differences which can be applied in Scotland;

  • Cleaning of the pool and changing areas can return to BAU as per national cleaning specification recognising that all those patients in attendance should be on the medium risk pathway and unless a patient is found to have a known or suspected transmissible colonisation/infection in which instance chlorine cleaning is necessary.
  • It is not necessary to wear aprons and gloves automatically at the poolside when within 2 metres of a patient.  Apron and gloves should be worn as per standard infection control precautions (SICPs).

(Updated 2nd August 2021)

Can I offer aquatic physiotherapy in a hydrotherapy pool?

Yes aquatic therapy can be provided and decisions about the use of hydrotherapy pools in NHS settings should be made by the local NHS service.

More broadly, the decision to use any hydrotherapy pool should still be based on local risk assessment about patient suitability, and appropriate procedures regarding water quality and monitoring should be in place.

Additionally, locally determined infection prevention and control measures should be adopted to reduce transmission risks through poolside activity, (for example, effective cleaning of hoists, shower chairs rails and so on).

If a hydrotherapy pool is within a hospital or healthcare setting, the local policy for infection control and PPE should be followed, including the wearing of masks as applicable.

Further guidance

Members should refer to:

Last reviewed: