Name: Willem McIsaac
Education: Master of Science in Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto, Bachelor of Science at McGill University
Clinic(s): Melrose Physiotherapy in Toronto, Ontario
Area of focus: Exercise prescription and manual therapy (e.g. soft tissue release and joint mobilizations) to help clients overcome barriers to mobility. I like helping patients with chronic conditions and chronic pain manage their conditions. I do this by empowering them with a combination of education and promotion of an active lifestyle.
Motto: As it relates to my physiotherapy practice, “motion is lotion” to emphasize the importance of keeping active.
What drew you to pt Health?
My first exposure to pt Health was a job fair I attended in my final year at the University of Toronto. Peter Ruttan, one of ptHealth’s co-founders and our Vice-President, was representing the company. I had the opportunity to chat with him and learn more about the pt Health experience. I was drawn to the large network of interdisciplinary clinicians as well as the opportunity to be an employee with benefits. I really valued pt Health’s commitment to further education as demonstrated by the education allowance as well.
What’s your average day like?
On an average day, I will see approximately 20 to 25 clients; usually, two to three will be new assessments. I work closely with a great team that includes physiotherapist support personnel, another physiotherapist, a massage therapist, a chiropractor, and our patient coordinators. We see a diverse caseload at our clinic that includes motor-vehicle accident claimants, work-related injury claimants, individuals eligible for OHIP-funded physiotherapy, as well as those coming privately or through third-party benefits. This means seeing a wide range of ages and conditions, from the pediatric to the geriatric population, and both musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. It keeps me on my toes! More recently, I have taken on the role of Clinic Team Manager, which has enabled me to gain a better understanding of clinic operations and develop my leadership skills early in my career.
How long have you worked at pt Health?
I’ve been with ptHealth for almost a year and a half now. I must say that I am thankful that I get to work with a fantastic, dynamic team and of course, with our great clients!
What is one of your favorite stories of how you helped a patient?
We had a client who came into our clinic approximately one week post-stroke. Upon assessment, it became apparent that this client had pretty significant functional limitations but not enough to warrant admission to inpatient rehabilitation. Unfortunately, this client was under the age of 65 and had not been admitted to the hospital for a long enough period to be eligible for OHIP-covered physiotherapy services. We were able to connect them with resources such as TTC’s Wheel-Trans, CCAC services, and provide a referral to an outpatient program at one of the rehab facilities in Toronto that they were able to access with the help of their family doctor. Through strength, balance, and gait training, we were also able to help this client return to walking without a gait aid and return to work. It was particularly rewarding helping someone who was at risk of “falling through the cracks” to navigate our healthcare system, especially given the importance of early rehabilitation post-stroke.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I spent a significant portion of my youth living overseas in the Middle East (Egypt and Bahrain) and Hong Kong. I returned to Canada to pursue post-secondary studies. After nine years, I think I’ve finally gotten used to the winters again!