The physical therapist’s guide to practice

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has made its Guide to Physical Therapist Practice available online free to physical therapist and physical therapist assistant educators, students, and clinicians who are members of APTA. The Guide has been previously available in book and CD form, but the current online subscription format – aptly known as Guide 3.0 – include a few improvements and additions, as exemplified below:

·         The Guide offers a more robust description of the elements of the Patient/Client management model (examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, and outcomes).

·         Review of systems (ROS) has been added to the history within the physical therapist examination.

·         The language has been revised for consistency with the International Classification of Functioning (ICF), Disability, and Health.

·         Further language changes have been made to reflect the current terminology used in the field of physical therapy.

·         The Integumentary Repair and Protection section has been changed to reflect current practice.

·         The test and measure category Gait, Locomotion and Balance from the second edition has been reorganized to more accurately reflect ICF language.

·         The Preferred Physical Therapist Practice Patterns have been removed as they are available on the APTA website.

·         The Catalog of Tests and Measures, specific tests and measures from the CD version has been deemed outdated and thus retired. In its lieu, APTA activities have focused on determining selected tests and measures through other initiatives.

·         The ICD-9 coding and the range of visits also have been deleted.

·         The printed edition of the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice 2nd Edition has been discontinued.

 The Guide to Physical Therapist Practice 3.0 is a description of the practice of physical therapy. It was originally developed as a resource for healthcare policy makers, administrators, managed care providers, third-party payers, and other professionals. These professionals now have access to other essential resources, which coupled with the fast-paced progression of healthcare policies that require more dynamic documents, have led APTA to develop the Guide 3.0 mainly for physical therapists and physical therapist assistant audiences.

Regarding the Preferred Physical Therapist Practice Patterns that are not present in the Guide 3.0 but are available in on APTA’s website, they may be used by educators in academia and in the clinic exclusively for educational purposes. For instance, to help students understand the elements of patient/client management, especially in relation to the human movement system. On a final note, the Guide is available to APTA non-members and institutions via an annual subscription.

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