Understanding the Role of Physical Therapists
- Physical therapists are health care professionals who maintain, restore and improve movement, activity and health-enabling individuals of all ages to have optimal functioning and quality of life.
- Physical therapists are involved in promoting health, wellness, and fitness through risk factor identification and implementation to help reduce risk, slow down progression of or prevent functional decline and disability, and enhance participation in chosen life situations.
- The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to restore maximal functional independence to each individual patient.
- The Crozer-Keystone rehab team consistently performs quality customer service, outstanding therapy outcomes, and is the leader for rehabilitation services in the area. In regards to outpatient/inpatient services, Crozer-Keystone handles everything from the neurological stroke patients to a person with an ankle sprain.
Physical therapy may be needed when an individual experiences health problems in which it is harder to move around or to take part in everyday tasks. Physical therapy is designed to help individuals move better and, at times, relieve pain. It can also help improve or restore physical functions and level of fitness. We live in a time where easier is better, and the overall goal of physical therapy is to make daily tasks and activities easier.
October is National Physical Therapy Month. Physical therapists not only help individuals to get back on their feet, but also promote a better environment and help patients obtain a better quality of life. “Physical therapists work to restore or maintain their patients’ highest functional level. In this way, they ensure people can do the things that are important to them on a day-to-day basis. That may entail taking care of their home, being able to work or returning to a sport or leisure activity,” says Carla DeWald, administrative director of Outpatient Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for Crozer Keystone Health System. “We want people to be as independent as possible and to have the tools they need to continue on their own, so education is also a big part of what we do.”
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, physical therapists are health care professionals who maintain, restore and improve movement, activity and health-enabling individuals of all ages to have optimal functioning and quality of life. They also are involved in promoting health, wellness, and fitness through risk factor identification and implementation to help reduce risk, slow down progression of or prevent functional decline and disability, and enhance participation in chosen life situations.
“The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to restore maximal functional independence to each individual patient,” says Scott Law, M.B.A., MPT, administrative director of Rehab Services at Taylor Hospital and Delaware County Memorial Hospital. “The Crozer-Keystone rehab team consistently performs quality customer service, outstanding therapy outcomes, and is the leader for rehabilitation services in the area. As far as our outpatient/inpatient services go, we handle everything from neurological stroke patients to a person with an ankle sprain.
“Our therapists possess a wealth of knowledge and many of them are trained in specialty areas,” Law continues. “This includes cardiovascular and pulmonary, geriatric, wound care, neurologic, orthopedic, sports medicine, women’s health and palliative care.”
Physical therapy education programs are typically a combination of coursework and clinical rotations. “A physical therapist’s extensive education, clinical experience, and ‘hands on’ approach bring a unique, individualized approach that allows them to make the process of healing an easier one,” Law says. In addition, states require individuals to be licensed to legally work as a physical therapist. The curricula may require courses in science and health-related topics such as exercise physiology, personal wellness and physical education methods. When physical therapy students have completed the program, they will hold a master’s or doctorate degree in physical therapy.
In order to determine whether services are needed, a physical therapist will abide by the following elements of patient/client management:
- Examination: Required prior to the initial intervention.
- Evaluation: The physical therapist will collect all the findings from patient history, review tests and measures to establish the diagnosis.
- Rehabilitation Diagnosis: A systematic process and a classification or description of findings as they relate to a patient’s rehab needs.
- Prognosis: Once diagnosis has been established, the physical therapist can determine the prognosis and develop a care plan.
- Intervention: Interaction of the physical therapist with the patient/client.
- Outcome Assessment: Physical therapist measures the impact of the physical therapy interventions.
The acute care centers and two inpatient facilities are part of the continuum of care with a focus on functional mobility to prepare patients for discharge to the community or next level of care. Crozer-Keystone’s multiple outpatient locations offer physical therapy for orthopedic and neurologic conditions with specialties including lymphedema management, pelvic floor rehab and vestibular rehab.
Locations are at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Barclay Square/Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Springfield Hospital, the CKHS Center for Dizziness & Balance at Springfield, and Taylor Made/Taylor Hospital.
For more information on physical therapy services, or to make an appointment, call 1-877-CK-MOTION (1-877-256-6846) or visit www.crozerkeystone.org