Treatment questions for a workplace injury.
As described in this space in April,1 a variety of ethical considerations may arise in treat-or-refer situations that a physical therapist (PTs) may face. In that earlier case, however, the PT's considerations were personal ones. Consider the following scenario, involving institutional barriers.
Angela is the sole PT at Shady Oaks, a long-term care facility. She's been there for nearly 10 years and takes pride in the way staff work together to put resident care first. She's read horror stories about the conditions at some such facilities—where treatment decisions often are rooted in payment concerns rather than patient needs—but that's not the case at Shady Oaks. The relationship between nursing and rehabilitation staff is excellent. Angela has yet to encounter an instance in which optimal patient care wasn't the overriding goal of such teamwork.