Physical therapists (PTs) play a unique role in the emergency department (ED) setting, particularly given that 25%-28% of visits to EDs involve musculoskeletal conditions. Furthermore, early physical therapy in the recovery process has been shown to result in fewer days of missed work and shorter overall case duration in patients and clients with acute low back injuries and other musculoskeletal injuries.
While physical therapy practice is growing in EDs, it is still not recognized even among many PTs. Therefore, a House action calls for APTA to develop materials to support the role of PTs in EDs. Materials may include resources to help PTs assess readiness for practice in this setting, negotiate the value of the role of physical therapy in the ED, and promote PT professional services in the emergency care environment.
The new materials will augment current resources available to APTA members that include an Emergency Department Toolkit and a podcast series on PTs in EDs. [RC-26]
Draft language adopted by the 2012 House will be available on the House Community next week. Final language for all actions taken by the June 2012 House will be available by September after the minutes have been approved.