Physical Fitness for Special Populations (PFSP)

Physical therapy positively influences an individual's overall health, wellness, and fitness by providing services that positively impact physical fitness. Improving an individual's level of physical activity and physical fitness can prevent, remediate, improve, maintain, slow the decline of, or lower the risk of impairments of body functions and structures, activity limitations and participation restrictions. Physical therapy services that impact physical fitness include interventions that affect cardiovascular/pulmonary endurance, muscle strength, power, endurance and flexibility, relaxation, and body composition.

The information linked through the following pages is intended to improve your ability to appropriately increase your provision of services that have a positive impact on the levels of activity of your patients and clients at all acuity levels and in all settings.

You should also consider that when providing physical therapy services to address physical fitness for individuals or groups, in either traditional or nontraditional settings, the components of patient or client management that define the practice of physical therapy still apply. The level of detail required for an initial examination/evaluation would be based on the complexity of the patient or client. If your initial examination/evaluation is truly a screen, the process may end there with a referral to another provider or a determination that further evaluation and services are not required. But if you determine the individual requires ongoing services, then the other components of patient/client management, that is examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis (including plan of care), and intervention also apply.

Again, the intricacy of the plan of care and the frequency of change will be based on the complexity of the patient or client. More complex patients or settings may necessitate significantly more detail in the examination and intervention processes while some community settings for example and less complex patients or clients may require shorter and less detailed examinations, plans of care, and follow up. However, all services provided as physical therapy to patients or clients should consider and appropriately address the five components of patient client management: examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention.

Patient Care Resources

Additional Information

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Guide to PT Practice