CAST OF CHARACTERS:
The Physical Therapist: When a patient first visits the Physical Therapy Department, he is evaluated by physical therapist (PT). The Physical therapist(PT) determines patient’s health and identifies his problems. After discussing the objective of physical therapy along with patient, the PT decides a “Plan of Care”. This Plan of Care includes the various treatments and procedures of therapy that will be conducted on the patient. A separate time frame is made which includes the frequency and length of treatments. Once the treatment starts, the physical therapist regularly re-evaluates the patient to determine to progress towards the goals set in the” Plan of Care” . If needed, the therapist updates the plan accordingly .
The Physical Therapist Assistant: The physical therapy assistant (PTA) works along side physical therapist during the rehabilitation of patients. PTA, under the supervision of physical therapists,are involved in the treatment of patients. They carry out the various therapy treatments involved within the “Plan of Care.” Each physical therapy assistant constantly reports to the physical therapist regarding the progress made by patient.
Patients : The patients treated by the physical therapy team may be accident victims, heart patients, arthritis patients, or individuals with back pain, head injury, or bone fractures. Patients can be small childen, injured sportspeople, middle aged people, or elderly people.
The Setting: Physical therapist assistants work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, home-health-care agencies etc .
The Hours: Physical therapy is usually conducted on patients during the day time only. So the working hours of physical therapist are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. In some cases, the assistant may have to work in early morning hours (6:00 am to 2:00 pm) or during evening hours (10:00 am to 6:00 pm), as per the requirement of the patient.
The Day Begins: After reviewing the day’s schedule, PTAs begin conducting treatments as assigned by the PT. Usually, s physical therapist is not present in the premises when the assistant carries out the assigned interventions on patients. However, the PTA is supposed to report back the PT regularly. It is extremely important for the PTA to work responsibly and independently.
Typical Physical Therapy Interventions: A physical therapy assistant is trained well in a number of treatments and procedures aimed at rehabilitation of patients. The PTA may have to walk, stand, kneel and lift weight while conducting these tasks.
Some of the interventions are as follows:
- Therapeutic exercise: These exercises are aimed at building strength, endurance, coordination, and balance of a patient .
- Transfer training: This training is aimed at teaching patients to move from one place to another, like moving to wheel chair from bed.
- Gait training: This is the most widely used therapy in which the patient is taught to walk again.
- Wound care: This involves taking care of open wounds on patients, such as burns. It is also very important that the PTA protects himself as well as the patient from bacteria.
- Massage: Therapeutic massage is aimed to relieve pain and promote circulation to injured or sore muscles.
- Patient Education: Sometimes a PTA must explain to patient details about the treatment and procedures. Thus, it becomes important for a PTA to know about muscles, bones, and ligaments in great detail .
End of the Day: For a physical therapy assistant, time passes very quickly in the office. At the end of the day, a physical therapist assistant feels great satisfaction knowing that he has spent his day helping others and has made a difference in somebody’s life