What Do Physical Therapists Do and When Should You Refer to Them?
Patients often have a view of Physical Therapists that includes: Drill Sergeants, Sadists, and Slave Drivers. But that isn’t what they really do. They may be bossy and give lots of instructions and exercises to complete, but they are really working toward improving a patient’s independence, function, and quality of life.
What They Do?
Look at a Patient’s Physical Capabilities. They are assessing strength, range of motion, posture, balance, transfers, and walking abilities to determine if there are any limitations.
Environment Safety. They look for any issues in a patient’s home that can pose a safety/fall risk such as: rugs, steps, and narrow pathways. They can then make recommendations to improve a patients’ safety.
Equipment Recommendations. Based on the physical capabilities that a patient has, the Physical Therapist will make recommendations for walkers, canes, wheelchairs, etc.
Exercise Prescription. Based on the limitations found, a physical therapist will select exercises to complete with the patient to improve their function and quality of life. These exercises are often written down for the patient as part of a home exercise program.
They don’t just look at the patients themselves, they look beyond whatever dysfunctions may exist to help a person overcome the barriers to their engagement in activity.
When to Refer?
Below is a small list of issues that should help guide you to referring to a PT.
If any of these questions give you pause OR you’re nodding in agreement with all or any question, then you know what you should do… Bring in a PT!