A Physical Therapy Aide works under the direction of a Physical Therapist or licensed Physician participating in and overseeing the performance of a variety of non-clinical supportive activities.
- The Physical Therapy Aides administer routine therapeutic treatments.
- The Physical Therapy Aide assists the patient in doing therapy by the use of physical or mechanical methods.
- The Physical Therapy Aide uses various equipment and techniques to perform physical therapeutic methods, practices and procedures.
- The Physical Therapy Aide must have completed high school and normally the rest of the training is done while working for a licensed Physical Therapist.
The Physical Therapy Aide usually starts at entry level receiving on-the-job training. The Aides must attend structured in-service training programs. The entry-level Physical Therapy Aide must work under close supervision doing their assignments. After some training and experience the Physical Therapy Aide is now considered to be in the intermediate level working more with a wider range of responsibilities being permitted to provide more physical therapy assignments. When the Physical Therapy Aide is promoted t the experience level then the therapist can do more assignments making decisions about the patient’s therapy.
The advanced level for Physical Therapy Aide permits them to do many of the therapies required by them or with the supervision of a Physical Therapist. The Physical Therapy Aide regulates and guides patients with range of motion, stretching and strengthening exercises to maintain and/or increase joint muscles ranges. The Physical Therapy Aide provides hydrotherapy and/or whirlpool treatments to help circulation and relaxation. The Physical Therapy Aide provides infrared and ultraviolet treatments to promote healing of ulcers, acne, etc. The advanced level Physical Therapy Aide will also provide ambulation training to assist patients in attaining maximum mobility. The Physical Therapy Aide gives the patient muscle rubs, massages, and other muscles treatments. The Physical Therapy Aide must stay with the patient while they are walking often helping to guide the crutch and gait training, and may apply training braces.
The Physical Therapy Aides often assists the medical staff in measuring and fitting devices that will be worn by the patient. The Physical Therapy Aides must be able to assist in repairing, reconditioning braces and wheelchairs. The Physical Therapy Aide may train and instruct nurses and other nursing care providers in minor physical therapy treatments. The way a patient takes physical therapy is very important because done the right way it can cause harm to the body. The Physical Therapist Aide may not do physical therapy until they are properly trained by a licensed Physical Therapist. In most cases the Physical Therapist Aide works under a professional for a year and gets state certified before they start working independently. Even then they are still being supervised by the Physical Therapist. In most cases the Physical Therapist Aide works in a hospital as entry level for six to eight months before they are promoted to intermediate level working at least one year before they can gain the next stage in their job. The advanced Physical Therapist Aide might leave the hospital and work in a clinic or office of a licensed Physical Therapist. When they have worked long enough time for the licensed Therapist to sponsor them then they can advance to the highest level of Experienced Physical Therapist Aide.
In order for an experienced Physical Therapist Aide to advance to the highest level they must have knowledge in the following procedures and equipment:
- The Physical Therapist Aide must have full knowledge of equipment and how to use it when assisting a patient in therapy.
- The Physical Therapist Aide must have knowledge of proper lifting techniques and be able to understand the behavior and needs of patients.
- The Physical Therapist Aide must have knowledge on the use of restraints and aggressive behavior management.
- The Physical Therapist Aide must complete successfully in-service training.
- The Physical Therapist Aide must observe, evaluate, and record conditions, reactions, and changes in the physical condition of patients.
The Physical Therapist Aide is also responsible to maintain appropriate attitude and conduct necessary to the welfare of patents. The Physical Therapist Aide must be able to maintain records and write brief reports about the patient, their condition and their improvement status. One of the major skills needed is good communication skills.