Happy National Physical Therapy Month!

The American Physical Therapy Association has celebrated National Physical Therapy month in October for the last twenty years. This month, we recognize Physical Therapists (PTs) for all of their incredible work. Educating the public about the purpose and many benefits of physical therapy is the focus of this month long celebration.

The average person may have heard the term physical therapy, but may not fully understand what a physical therapist does.

  • Physical Therapists (PT) help anyone with a physical impairment, injury or illness to improve their mobility. The goal is to achieve the highest level of functioning possible but this may not always be equivalent to previous functional levels. Each patient is evaluated; a treatment plan is devised and then implemented. Physical therapists are highly trained and educated professionals. A Doctorate in Physical Therapy is now required to become licensed and to practice.
  • Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA) usually carry out the treatment plan that was created by the PT and report back on the patient’s progress. PTA’s are usually required to have earned an Associate’s Degree in Physical Therapy from an accredited school. They must demonstrate proficiency by passing a standardized exam to earn certification. PTA’s are heavily relied upon to help patients progress towards their goals.
  • PT’s and PTA’s are a very important in the healthcare continuum. They help each patient to achieve independence or to become as independent as possible given their circumstances. These healthcare professionals work tirelessly helping each person achieve their treatment goals.

Some of the benefits of Physical Therapy are:

  • Decreased physical pain
  • Increased mobility
  • Increased safety awareness
  • Improved coordination
  • Improved balance
  • Improved strength
  • Increased flexibility
  • Teach adaptive techniques

Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants work in a variety of settings including hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics and schools. They also work in the Long Term Acute Care Hospital Setting (LTACH) such as Specialty Hospital of Central New Jersey. Sometimes in this setting the goal is just to avoid complications such as skin breakdown or acquiring pneumonia. While most people focus on being able to walk, this may not be every patient’s first goal. Therapists look at much longer timelines and much smaller incremental gains for each patient when they design their individual treatment programs in the LTACH setting.

Therapists must be creative, caring and capable individuals. Their main goal is to help return patients to good health while educating them about how to remain strong and healthy. Help us to celebrate and recognize the special people that choose to help those in need.

To read a Physical Therapist’s take on the LTACH setting, click here to read, “Notes from a Physical Therapist at Specialty Hospital.


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