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Understanding Their Role
Physical therapy (PT) restores patients’ mobility.1 Following an injury, surgery or other debilitation patients need physical therapy services to reduce pain and regain basic functions. Physical therapists work directly with patients providing highly individualized care.2
Physical therapist (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are highly trained, licensed experts. They treat a wide variety of conditions resulting from stroke, sports injuries, joint replacement surgeries, amputation, burns and many other problems. Therapeutic exercise and patient training are the fundamentals of PT treatment, and the treatment might also include electrotherapy, ultrasound and other remedies when appropriate. PT treatment shapes the independence of patients after they leave the hospital.3
Physical therapists in hospitals operate as a part of a larger team including nurses, physicians, social workers and specialists (for example, a speech therapist for a stroke patient,) so the job is highly collaborative. Although each member of the team has individual roles, the complex nature of modern healthcare requires a high level of communication so everyone understands the full situation and can provide the best care.4
Physical therapists are also experts in body mechanics, and assist hospital staff on patient transfers. Transfers are the movements of patients, for example from a bed to the bathroom or a chair.5
“…the keys to success in the hospital setting include the ability to be an effective communicator, motivation to learn new approaches to patient care, and flexibility to work with patients from all age groups and development stages of life.”
– from “Physical Therapists in the Hospital World.” 6
1 Griffin, Donald J. Hospitals: What They Are and How They Work. 4th ed. 40 Tall Pine Drive, Sudbury, MA 01776, 978-443-5000, www.jblearning.com: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2012.
2 “About Physical Therapist (PT) Careers.” American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). November 2015. Accessed 12/8/15, available at: www.apta.org/PTCareers/Overview
4 “Physical Therapists in the Hospital World.” American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). March 2013. Accessed 12/8/15, available at: www.apta.org/PTCareers/Profiles/PTsintheHospitalWo...
5 Griffin, Donald J. Hospitals: What They Are and How They Work.
6 “Physical Therapists in the Hospital World.” American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). March 2013. Accessed 12/8/15, available at: www.apta.org/PTCareers/Profiles/PTsintheHospitalWo...
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