As actions are taken across the country to reduce the spread of COVID-19, a virus that spreads easily from close contact, APTA encourages physical therapists to use their professional judgment to determine when, where, and how to provide care, with the understanding this is not the optimal environment for care, for anyone involved.
APTA encourages PTs, PTAs, and students to flatten the curve of the COVID-19 outbreak by following CDC guidance to minimize exposure in the clinic and practice social distancing by avoiding large social gatherings. At the same time, we know that our profession plays a crucial role in the health of our society, and there are people in our communities whose health will be significantly impacted by disruptions to care.
Patient care has always been specific to the individual, with the physical therapist assessing a person's needs relative to their goals. Thus, physical therapists have a responsibility to review CDC guidance, to understand who is at highest risk and how to best reduce exposure, and to use their professional judgment in the best interests of their patients and clients and their local communities — including rescheduling nonurgent care if that is the best approach, or making other adjustments when the risk of exposure to COVID-19 outweighs the benefits of immediate treatment.
APTA's mission is to build a community that advances the profession of physical therapy to improve the health of society. In this challenging time, we are mindful of the effects of this outbreak on our own community as well as on the society our profession nobly serves. Striving for the optimal health of everyone must be our goal.