Physical Therapist Assistants Celebrate National Physical Therapy Month

Physical therapist assistants across the country are helping in October to raise awareness of their profession and the benefits that physical therapy can bring in so many ways by celebrating National Physical Therapy Month.

Devised by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), National Physical Therapy Month is celebrated in October every year with a specific focus on a particular topic or theme of interest. Previous years’ subjects have included “Bringing Motion to Life” and “Smart Moves for Families”. It’s a great way for the profession to bring attention to physical therapy related healthcare topics that are currently in the news or are having a major impact on the well-being of American society.

Physical Therapist Assistants Help Prevent Injuries

This year’s topic deals with helping to prevent sports injuries for all ages. As part of the national move to promote health and fitness, combat obesity, develop cardiovascular endurance, and generally enhance wellness for children as well as adults, healthcare professionals and government agencies encourage participation in sport as a healthy physical activity with an important social dimension.

Physical Therapist Assistants Celebrate National Physical Therapy Month

APTA is using this month-long event to draw attention to how physical therapist assistants and their supervising PTs can help people to prevent sports related injuries and recover mobility from those that exist.

It’s clear that an understanding of how to do sports safely can help to decrease the risk of being injured. Whether on the football field, the gymnasium, or in the weights room, a better familiarity with good technique and safety precautions can help people prevent injuries that can seriously impede their ability to perform to their full potential in many other areas of life, and avoid expensive series of treatments.

Prevention As Well As Cure In Physical Therapy

It is sometimes thought that a physical therapist or a physical therapy assistant is really only concerned with helping patients recover from accidents and injuries. But an important part of their role is also to help prevent injuries which might otherwise occur. In this respect, physical therapist assistants have an essential part to play in their team in delivering programs that educate the general public in wellness programs with a foundation in exercising safely.

As the population gets older and the baby boomer generation contributes to the increased number of retirees, PTAs are helping their physical therapists to deliver plans of care efficiently, administering many of the hands-on elements of treatment according to the program that the physical therapist has devised. As their manager, the PT sets out the direction of treatment, and delegates a significant part of its provision to the physical therapy assistant.

Important Skills For Physical Therapist Assistants

That’s why a PTA needs such good communication skills: their job includes motivating and instructing patients as they undertake their course of therapy, observing them as they progress and making notes and records, talking to family members and caregivers about how to support the treatment program, and conferring with the supervising PT and other members of the team to coordinate care and evaluate patient status on an ongoing basis.

As part of their education on a physical therapy assistants’ program, students are expected to show proficiency in written and spoken English, reading comprehension, active listening skills, perceptiveness in regards to the reaction of patients, and critical thinking — all of these, elements of teaching and counseling techniques which can be used for injury prevention as well as part of therapeutic treatment.

An important part of physical therapy is to promote a healthy lifestyle. Thanks to the APTA’s National Physical Therapy Month, there are fresh opportunities for PTs and physical therapist assistants to renew awareness amongst the general public about how to avoid sports related injuries and the way in which physical therapy can contribute to the quality of life and physical well-being of the population at large.

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