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  • New COVID-19 Volunteer Resource Connects PTs, PTAs, Students With Facilities in Need

    APTA's new service allows facilities to share their needs and creates matches with volunteers able to provide key services.

    The physical therapy profession has never backed away from a challenge. Now there's a new opportunity for PTs, PTAs, and physical therapy students to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic through volunteer efforts.

    APTA has launched a new online service that helps connect members of the physical therapy profession with facilities looking for volunteers. The service offers two points of entry — one for facilities in need of PT, PTA, or student volunteers, and another for PTs, PTAs, and students willing to offer their services, by way of the APTA Engage volunteer portal.

    Volunteers could serve in a wide range of capacities as areas around the world move through acute, response, and recovery phases: PTs and PTAs with appropriate experience can help to free up needed ICU beds and ventilators by providing treatments that can reduce some patients’ need for mechanical ventilation. As areas and people recover, there will also be a need for volunteers able to help individuals get back to work through improving mobility, function, and quality of life.

    Michel Landry, BScPT, MBA, PhD, a professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Division in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine and an affiliate in the Duke Global Health Institute, is coordinating volunteer-facility matches for the program. He can be reached through Twitter at @ptcovid19.

    For more insight into the pandemic, disaster response, epidemiological background, and the role the profession can play in care and recovery, check out this recording of a March 27 APTA FaceBook Live event at the bottom of the volunteer connection page.


    • Are you joking? Our profession has come to this? Doctors who invested thousands of dollars into a profession that has the audacity to ask us to work for free! It is not enough that we are being laid off left and right?! You want us to risk our lives without any compensation????????!!!!!!

      Posted by Kelly Gordon on 3/30/2020 7:17 PM

    • The fact that our own professional organization would publish this nonsense is exactly why this profession hasn’t advanced in over 20 years. I’m curious to know if Dr. Landry is “volunteering” at Duke. As critical members of these teams, we should be valued enough for proper remuneration not volunteering our services. No wonder we’re never taken seriously. I agree with you Kelly! This is awful!

      Posted by Tonja on 3/31/2020 9:33 AM

    • This is the defining event of our time. When we look back and our children or grandchildren ask what we did when our country / society was in need, I doubt anyone will want to admit that they did not contribute because they weren't being paid. Volunteering and pro bono services are part of the Code of Ethics in the Association. Those of us lucky enough to be working can still offer volunteer service in our spare time (which many do in normal times); those of us who are laid off, can consider offering our expertise where it is needed.

      Posted by Jay Lamble on 4/1/2020 11:34 AM

    • In California, Dentist and Dental hygienists got an email from their respective organizations to join the California Health Corps to be a volunteer medical professional at facilities, for compensation and covered malpractice insurance. I wish the PT profession would have sent out about this program. I was sent the information from friends who are dentists. Physical Therapy was not one of the listed “essential medical professions” but I was able to sign up as a volunteer

      Posted by BMB on 4/1/2020 6:07 PM

    • It would be fantastic if these facilities could pay us. The majority of companies and facilities are taking massive losses and are trying to minimize expenses, bust desperately need the help. So they are hoping for altruism for folks. For better or worse. I have a PA friend who has been asked by his hospital to more or less do the same thing. In normal circumstances, we would be paid, but these are not normal circumstance

      Posted by J Daniel Chelette on 4/1/2020 6:26 PM

    • Underscore, highlight and bold -> willing to serve and volunteer. Obviously, this calling is not for everyone.

      Posted by Earl Parica on 4/2/2020 2:17 AM

    • I was expecting to have a list that is from the community, like helping a food bank, not working for free in high risk areas. This cheapens our profession and waters down our abilities. RTs and RNs are being recruited in the hot spots for between $3K and $10K a week, and they are getting sick and risking their lives on top of that. And our association and whoever this Dr. Landry is sure does not have any idea of the issues going on around the country with PTs and PTAs being laid off. We obviously need new leadership in the APTA. We are skilled, we are educated and we are of value, so we need to be paid just like everyone else in the system. How about promoting how we can be hired to be helpful on the front lines?

      Posted by Patty on 4/2/2020 3:34 PM

    • i agree with most of the comments. PT is chronically undervalued and from what I have seen most often asked to "volunteer" services not only in crises but also in less common situations like international medical work. That being said, I do understand PT is not as valuable a professions with this particular pandemic simply because of the nature of it, but do they expect people to be moving to hotspots (NY, LA, etc) some of the most expensive places to live in the USA without paying them while also highly increasing the chance they will get ill? The people who can volunteer have probably already lost their jobs meaning they actually need income. We are already scrambling for tele health and working without any PPE just to stay employed at this point. PTs should be paid the going rate AT MINIMUM. I spoke to a nurse at work this week who was offered 10k per week to go to NYC, which she declined. Shouldn't the APTA be spending its time advocating for the value of PT rather than asking us all to offer our services for free when we barely get reimbursed without a pandemic happening?

      Posted by Robertson on 4/3/2020 7:27 AM

    • First, I believe this is a bad idea, at this time, for the APTA and Michel Landry to suggest members volunteer during the acute phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic. It’s predicted that there will be 100-240 thousands deaths due to this Pandemic. The Coronavirus is still unknown and has no treatment. I choose not to be one of or contribute to those numbers. Secondly, I see this to be a personal choice to volunteer with many factors to consider, the of safety family, patients/clients and mine. Using our association’s Code of Ethics as a tool of shaming colleagues into volunteering is very inappropriate. Let us be the healthcare professionals, we our and respect your peers’s choices. Finely, after assessing the current situation in the area of the country I reside, following National, State and Tribal recommendations regarding the Shelter in Place and Physical Distancing to prevent further spread of the virus, I have chosen to stand down until the Recovery or 3rd Phase of Covid-19. At that time I will chose to come out of retirement and offer my services to a local facilities in need. Colleagues, be safe and well.

      Posted by Honani Polequaptewa on 4/4/2020 12:16 PM

    • To those whining about compensation and having spent "Thousands of dollars".(Kelly Gordon comment)...suck it up! This is a time of national emergency and if you're in it for the $ you chose the wrong profession! Many of us are not working in outpatient settings and are collecting unemployment but want to do something....I for one would like to help in some way. I am in California and signed up for my state's Health Care Volunteer site even though PT isn't listed, I'd be happy to do anything they needed rather than sit here at home being useless. PT used to be about taking care of people but I am seeing various posts complaining about compensation?! Sad

      Posted by Eden Tropp -> AJU]=M on 4/6/2020 11:07 AM

    • In response to what others have already said, signing up as a volunteer in this current health crisis is undeniably a selfless and noble act considering the high risks that are at stake. It all comes down to each individual’s personal decision. The article merely creates a bridge between clinicians and medical institutions or communities in desperate need for qualified personnel to assist in whatever capacity they can. I do have to disagree in the statement that we can assist in helping free up ICU beds or patients in ventilators. We can’t!!! Patients are in intensive care or step down units because all other medical interventions has been exhausted and critical care is being provided to sustain life. Therapy can be used as adjunct to treatment for the purpose of reducing further complications. As far as mentioning our profession in helping to reduce the use of mechanical ventilators is quite an overstatement. Mechanical ventilation is used to replace or assist in spontaneous breathing and nothing in our scope of practice can replace that. We can however educate on proper positioning or even chest percussions at a later time but those services can also be provided by respiratory therapists who are already present in an acute setting. We should all focus on how many patients will be recovering from this health crisis. A lot of these patients will have continued complications from covid19, some would even have limited capacity as they recover. This is where we will all shine whether you work in a SNF, home health or outpatient setting. The demand for our services will again rise as the population who were affected by this pandemic will require skilled care across all disciplines. We will weather the storm and continue to do what we do best. Good luck to everyone and stay safe!

      Posted by Rey Carr on 4/14/2020 6:09 PM

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