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Colorado Physical Therapy Scope of Practice

How is physical therapy defined in Colorado?

"Physical therapy" means the examination, physical therapy diagnosis, treatment, or instruction of patients and clients to detect, assess, prevent, correct, alleviate, or limit physical disability, movement dysfunction, bodily malfunction, or pain from injury, disease, and other bodily conditions.

What is included in the practice of physical therapy?

The practice of physical therapy in Colorado includes:

    • The administration, evaluation, and interpretation of tests and measurements of bodily functions and structures;
    • The planning, administration, evaluation, and modification of treatment and instruction;
    • The use of physical agents, measures, activities, and devices for preventive and therapeutic purposes;
    • The administration of topical and aerosol medications consistent with the scope of physical therapy practice;
    • The provision of consultative, educational, and other advisory services for the purpose of reducing the incidence and severity of physical disability, movement dysfunction, bodily malfunction, and pain; and
    • General wound care, including the assessment and management of skin lesions, surgical incisions, open wounds, and areas of potential skin breakdown in order to maintain or restore the integumentary system.

What is specifically excluded from the practice?

Use of roentgen rays and radioactive materials for therapeutic purposes; the use of electricity for surgical purposes; or the diagnosis of disease.

Are there any special trainings required?

Administration of medications

Physical therapists or physical therapist assistants under the direct supervision of a physical therapist may administer topical and aerosol medications when they are consistent with the scope of physical therapy practice and when any such medication is prescribed by a licensed health care practitioner who is authorized to prescribe that medication. A prescription or order shall be required for each such administration.

Wound debridement

A physical therapist is authorized to perform wound debridement under a physician's order or the order of a physician assistant authorized under section 12-240-107 (6) when debridement is consistent with the scope of physical therapy practice. The performance of wound debridement does not violate the prohibition against performing surgery pursuant to section 12-285-108 (1)(a).

See Colorado PT Dry Needling

Board Statements

A licensed physical therapist may order or perform, with clinical justification, any diagnostic imaging which is within the recognized standards of the practice of physical therapy, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Reference

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-285-104

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-285-108

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-285-116

Colorado Physical Therapy Board Policies

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