Weekly Rehab Minute: What is a PTA?
The job of a Physical Therapist Assistant is to assist the Doctor of Physical Therapy with various aspects of treatment sessions. As a PTA we are able to treat patients with conditions such as:
- Balance deficits
- Reconditioning/endurance training
- Gait abnormalities
These treatments are conducted under the supervision of a supervising PT. At the beginning of your therapy journey, the PT will perform an inial evaluation to determine the underlying cause of your pain or injury. After the initial evaluation, you may see the PTA to conduct functional exercises and activities to return you to your prior level of function.
PTA's are specifically trained to follow a plan of care set during your initial evaluation by the supervising physical therapist. They receive an Associates degree at Technical Colleges and are trained to follow specific guidelines for patient care to ensure that each individual patient receives the proper exercises and manual techniques for their specific diagnosis. The PT and PTA are always in constant communication regarding patient case by case scenarios, such as;
- Incline/decline in current status
- Gains made during rehab
- Progressions made in rehab
- Changes/additions to treatment sessions
This kind of communication is done to ensure each patient receives their proper care they need.
Having treatment from both a supervising PT and PTA, you can be sure that you receiving the best care you can. Having similar treatment styles and techniques reduces the risk of error, as well as improve rehab outcomes.