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[This article was updated after its original publication date to include a new deadline for submitting comments.]


APTA is updating the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice, and we need your input as our next step in finalizing the new version.

A work group of APTA staff and members reviewed the Guide content and drafted recommended updates based on current practice. It's time for a wide review from the profession, and your feedback is critical before the revisions proceed. You may comment on all or selected changes.

Among the changes presented for review:

  • Improvements to organization. The revision links main chapter content to each chapter's more detailed compendium (and back).
  • A new chapter about career advancement and clinical specialization. While the current Guide briefly describes opportunities for PTs to become board-certified clinical specialists and PTAs to gain advanced proficiency, the new chapter offers more detail on the areas of specialty practice for PTs, the process for becoming a clinical specialist — including completing a residency, and the PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways.
  • Discussion of direct access to physical therapist services. Accessing services without a referral has not been described in the Guide. This draft includes direct access among other models of service delivery.
  • Inclusion of movement system concepts. The proposed Guide revision introduces the concept and current definition of the movement system, including the movement screen and the movement system diagnostic framework.
  • A move away from "patient and client" terminology. The distinction between "patient" and "client" has been a challenge in many ways since the Guide's original edition, so the revision moves from those previous labels to "individual," "group," and "community." The Patient/Client Management Model itself retains its terminology.
  • Focus on population health. As the profession recognizes that physical therapist practice is evolving from largely "one to one" care to "one to many," to broaden the reach of physical therapist services and realize APTA's vision to "improve the health of society," the concepts of social determinants of health, population health, and telehealth are added to this version of the Guide.

Note: You must login to access the draft revisions and survey. Only APTA members may provide comments on the Guide, and a login is required to access the comment instrument. The deadline for commenting is Feb. 28. If you have questions or additional comments related to this review of the Guide, please contact

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