What does a Physical Therapist do?
Assess, plan, organize, and participate in rehabilitative programs that improve mobility, relieve pain, increase strength, and improve or correct disabling conditions resulting from disease or injury.
- Plan, prepare, or carry out individually designed programs of physical treatment to maintain, improve, or restore physical functioning, alleviate pain, or prevent physical dysfunction in patients.
- Perform and document an initial exam, evaluating data to identify problems and determine a diagnosis prior to intervention.
- Evaluate effects of treatment at various stages and adjust treatments to achieve maximum benefit.
- Administer manual exercises, massage, or traction to help relieve pain, increase patient strength, or decrease or prevent deformity or crippling.
- Instruct patient and family in treatment procedures to be continued at home.
- Confer with the patient, medical practitioners, or appropriate others to plan, implement, or assess the intervention program.
- Review physician's referral and patient's medical records to help determine diagnosis and physical therapy treatment required.
- Record prognosis, treatment, response, and progress in patient's chart or enter information into computer.
- Obtain patients' informed consent to proposed interventions.
- Discharge patient from physical therapy when goals or projected outcomes have been attained and provide for appropriate follow-up care or referrals.
- Test and measure patient's strength, motor development and function, sensory perception, functional capacity, or respiratory or circulatory efficiency and record data.
- Identify and document goals, anticipated progress, and plans for reevaluation.
- Provide information to the patient about the proposed intervention, its material risks and expected benefits, and any reasonable alternatives.
- Direct, supervise, assess, and communicate with supportive personnel.
- Administer treatment involving application of physical agents, using equipment, moist packs, ultraviolet or infrared lamps, or ultrasound machines.
- Teach physical therapy students or those in other health professions.
- Evaluate, fit, or adjust prosthetic or orthotic devices or recommend modification to orthotist.
- Provide educational information about physical therapy or physical therapists, injury prevention, ergonomics, or ways to promote health.
- Refer clients to community resources or services.
- Conduct or support research and apply research findings to practice.
- Participate in community or community agency activities or help to formulate public policy.
- Construct, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices.
- Direct group rehabilitation activities.
- Inform patients and refer to appropriate practitioners when diagnosis reveals findings outside physical therapy.