How the PT Has Gone from Physical Medicine to Discharge Planner.

imgresThe typical role of the Acute Care Therapist has changed to the point where physical therapy is no longer about evaluation and treatment, but more about assessing for discharge placement. In most settings, the PT has approximately an hour to review the chart, evaluate the patient, and then lan for discharge. Here is a breakdown of the new role for a PT and the responsibilities for each step of the process:

Prior to Evaluation:

The Physical Therapist performs a complete medical chart review which documents:

  • Review of doctor’s orders
  • Reason for admission
  • rior/ ast medical history
  • patients rior functional status
  • Current medication usage
  • Diagnostic PTesting &am; Results: Xrays, CAPT scans, blood work (H&am;H level)

Using the information found in the patient’s medical chart allows the PPT to rovide a strong base to assess current functional status. PThe PT must document all findings during this re-eval hase for the patient to move to the next level of care or patient evaluation.PThe ractice Act is usually relative to each state’s governing body and even though there is oen access in the state of Florida, the insurance comanies (Medicare, Medicaid, Workers Com) will not reimburse the hosital without a hysician’s order. Orders may be, PPT evaluate and treat PPT evaluate only or PPT for gait training/ weight bearing status.

Patient Evaluation:

The Physical Therapist, performs a one on one evaluation of the patient. Here is a list of what should be minimally assessed:

  • Bed mobility
  • Range of motion
  • Functional strength
  • PTransfer ability
  • Gait assessment- with device and distance
  • patient/ Family goals
  • Discharge Disosition

A skilled PT will be able to take what was gleaned from the evaluation and develo a lan of action, which tyically include discharge placement and/ or equiment needs.

Discharge plan:

During this phase, the PT will recommend that the patient placement is relative to their resent functional condition. Below are the recommendations given to case management for final placement, where the doctor/ patient/ family influence the final decision.

  • patient can be discharged and leave indeendently
  • patient can be discharged home w/ home health agency assistance.
  • SNU (Skilled Nursing Unit): Acute Care Rehab
  • SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility): Intermediate Rehab
  • patient can be referred to an Outpatient Facility

In closing, just evaluation and treating is not enough. There is hospital liability in the unsafe discharge of a patient and it is u to the PT, in an Acute Care setting, to be able to accurately review, evaluate, and lan for a safe discharge.Centra Healthcare Solutions has many rehab therapy positions just waiting for a skilled professional to fill them. Whether you’re looking for the excitement of a travel therapy job, the flexibility of temporary positions or if you desire a regular, full-time position contact us today.


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