Physio takes her work on the road
Physiotherapist Kathleen Mowat of KM Physio, loves working with patients in their own homes.
If her clients are still in their pyjamas when she comes, she is absolutely okay with that.
Ms Mowat feels that sometimes clients put on a brave face when they come into the office, and she does not get the full picture.
“People are a lot more relaxed in their own space, and you get to see how they function on a daily basis,” she said. “I really find that rewarding.”
Until last year, she worked as a physiotherapist at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for four years. She loved her clients and colleagues there and enjoyed the work.
“I was doing a real range of things on the medical and surgical wards,” she said. “It was nice.”
But she wanted to spend more time with her husband and sons Alby, 9, and Ferris, 6.
“I decided I wanted to work part time, but that was not an option,” she said.
So she left the hospital to start her own venture.
“Now I specialise in visiting people in their homes to deliver physiotherapy services,” she said. “I also teach Pilates and can offer that to be done in-home as well.”
But the Covid-19 pandemic erupted almost as soon as she left her job at the hospital.
“The various lockdowns and stay at home orders were a real challenge,” she said. “I had to put things on hold.”
She could do some things virtually, but she prefers to work in person with a client.
“As a physiotherapist I tend to be hands on and always adjusting people or getting them to do an extra stretch,” she said.
It was not until the summer that she could really get KM Physio going.
“I have been in operation for about a year now,” she said.
Because of the pandemic, she is seeing a lot of clients who have fallen out of shape.
“They have not been out and about as they normally would, or people are maybe working from home now, who used to work in the office. Being in the office environment, you are walking up and down and seeing colleagues, going into meeting rooms, going out at lunch time. But when people are working in their own home environments they are not doing as much exercise.”
To work her physio magic, she usually only needs a mat, a squishy ball and some hand weights.
“If the client does not have a mat, we can always put a towel down,” she said. “If they don’t have hand weights, we can use some tin cans from the cupboard.”
A typical physio client might be recovering from a joint replacement.
“I get them rehabilitated, and up and moving again,” she said. “I work with people who have had orthopaedic injuries such as hip fractures or Achilles tendon ruptures. I could see anyone who has a muscular or skeletal ailment where they would prefer someone to come and see them at home, and work with them in their own environment.”
Ms Mowat was raised in Bermuda. Her father Gerry Ardis is a retired collector of customs, and her mother, Millicent Ardis, worked as a nurse in the paediatric ward at the hospital for many years.
“My sister and I used to go up to the ward after school,” Ms Mowat said. “So I have often been pretty comfortable in the hospital environment. The subjects I chose at A level, after I left the Bermuda High School, leant themselves towards something in healthcare.”
But she did not necessarily want to go into medicine.
“Physiotherapy was a really nice way of being an autonomous practitioner, but also working with a team of doctors, nurses, occupational therapists and lots of different people,” she said. “That really appealed to me. Physiotherapy has so many specialities. You can go into respiratory, paediatrics, or neurology, for example.”
After getting a master’s at Queen Margaret University College in Edinburgh, Scotland, she worked in London for several years, before moving to New Zealand. It was there that she discovered Pilates.
“I did a lot of dance growing up,” she said. “That kind of awareness of body, and awareness of movement patterns really appealed to me.”
She enjoyed it so much she became a Pilates instructor.
“On the Pilates side of things my clients are often people who have had back pain in the past, or want to work on their core strength and stability, or just someone who wants a real top to toe exercise regime,” she said.
Now she is enjoying setting her own hours.
“I can drop my sons off to school and pick them up,” she said. “I don’t work holidays or weekends so I can spend time with my family.”
For more information see her on Facebook @kmphysiopilates, e-mail email@example.com or call 703-0528.