Physical therapy is a dynamic profession with an established theoretical and scientific base and has widespread clinical applications in the restoration, maintenance and promotion of optimal physical function.
As essential participants in the health care delivery system, physical therapists assume leadership roles in rehabilitation; in prevention, health maintenance, and programs that promote health, wellness and fitness; and in professional and community organizations. Physical therapists also play important roles both in developing standards for physical therapist practice and in developing health care policy to ensure availability, accessibility and optimal delivery of physical therapy services. Physical therapy is covered by federal, state and private insurance plans. The positive impact of physical therapists’ services on health-related quality of life is well accepted.
As clinicians, physical therapists engage in an examination process that includes taking the patient/client history, conducting a systems review, and performing tests and measures to identify potential and existing problems. To establish diagnoses, prognoses, and plans of care, physical therapists perform evaluations, synthesizing the examination data and determining whether the problems to be addressed are within the scope of physical therapist practice.
Based on their judgments about diagnoses and prognoses and based on patient client goals, physical therapists provide interventions (the interactions and procedures used in managing and instructing patients/clients), conduct reexaminations, modify interventions as necessary to achieve anticipated goals and expected outcomes, and develop and implement discharge plans.