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New Jersey Physical Therapy Definitions

Board - The New Jersey Board of Physical Therapy Examiners.

Clinically Supported - A licensee, prior to selecting, performing or ordering the administration of a diagnostic test, has:

    • Personally performed a physical examination, making an assessment of any current and/or historical subjective complaints, observations, objective findings, neurological indications;
    • Considered any and all previously performed tests relating to the patient's medical condition and the results; and
    • Documented in the patient record positive and negative findings, observations and medical indications to justify the test.

Diagnostic Testing - A medical service utilizing biomechanical, neurological, neurodiagnostic, radiological, vascular or any means, other than bioanalysis, intended to assist in establishing a physical therapy diagnosis, for the purpose of recommending a course of treatment for the tested patient to be performed consistent with the Physical Therapy Practice Act, N.J.S.A. 45:9-37.11 et seq., and this chapter.

Direct Supervision - The presence of the supervising licensed PT on site, available to respond to any consequence occurring during any treatment procedure.

Disability - The inability to engage in age specific, gender related, or sex specific roles in a particular social context and physical environment. "Functional limitations" means restrictions of the ability to perform a physical action, activity or task in an efficient, typically expected or competent manner.

Dry Needling - A physical intervention that uses a dry, filiform needle, without medication or other deliverable, to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying muscular tissue, connective tissues, or myofascial trigger points for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.  "Dry needling" shall not mean the stimulation of auricular or distal points or the practice of acupuncture.

Functional Limitations - Restrictions of the ability to perform a physical action, activity or task in an efficient, typically expected or competent manner.

General Supervision - Supervision by a PT in which: the PT shall be available at all times by telecommunications but is not required to be on-site for direction and supervision; and the supervising PT assesses on an ongoing basis the ability of the PTA to perform the selected interventions as directed.

Impairment - The loss or abnormality of physiological, psychological, or anatomical structure or function.

Physical Therapist - A natural person who holds a current, valid license to practice physical therapy and in accordance with regulations of the board.

Physical Therapist Assistant - A natural person who is licensed in New Jersey and who assists a licensed PT under his direct or general supervision.

Physical Therapy - The identification of physical impairment, movement-related functional limitation, or balance disorder that occurs as a result of injury or congenital or acquired disability, or other physical dysfunction through examination, evaluation and diagnosis of the physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation and the establishment of a prognosis for the resolution or amelioration thereof, and treatment of the physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation.

Physical Therapy - Includes the screening, examination, evaluation, and application of interventions for the promotion, improvement, and maintenance of fitness, health, wellness, and prevention services in populations of all ages exclusively related to physical therapy practice.

Physical Therapy Diagnosis - A description placed on a group of signs and symptoms that are identified as a result of the examination and evaluative process. The purpose of the diagnostic determination is to allow the licensed physical therapist to select the appropriate physical therapy interventions) to initiate the most effective care for the purpose of achieving the patient's goals.

Physical Therapy Evaluation - A review exclusively by a licensed PT based on data and information collected during the examination and before any intervention. The evaluation reflects the chronicity and severity of the current patient problem and the possibility of multisystem and multisite involvement that may coexist with preexisting systemic conditions or diseases. The evaluation considers the level of the current impairment(s), functional limitation(s) and disability(ies), the living environment, potential discharge destination(s) and social support(s).

Physical Therapy Examination - An inquiry conducted by a licensed PT into the patient history, relevant systems review, and tests and measurements, which is conducted prior to any intervention. The history is an account of past and current health status. The system review is an examination that provides information about the general health of the patient that helps the licensed PT determine physical therapy diagnosis, a prognosis and a plan of care. Tests and measurements are performed by the licensed PT after review of the patient's history and systems reviewed to elicit additional information.

Physical Therapy Instruction - The act of providing consultative, educational or advisory services to one or more individuals for the purpose of preventing or reducing physical dysfunction and disability that may lead to reduced functional abilities.

Physical Therapy and Physical Therapy Practice - The identification of physical impairment, movement-related functional limitation, or balance disorder that occurs as a result of injury or congenital or acquired disability or other physical dysfunction through examination, evaluation, and diagnosis of the physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation and the establishment of a prognosis, which includes the establishment of the plan of care and all interventions, for the resolution or amelioration thereof and treatment of the physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation, which shall include, but is not limited to, the alleviation of pain, physical impairment.

Physical Therapy Intervention - The interaction of the licensed PT with the patient using various physical therapy procedures and techniques to produce changes in the condition consistent with the patient's dysfunction, disability, or level of function and consistent with the patient's projected outcome as a result of physical therapy intervention. When physical therapy instruction is provided to an individual as part of his or her therapeutic interventions, the instruction must be considered part of physical therapy intervention.

Physical Therapy Prognosis - The determination of the predicted level of optimal improvement that may be attained through intervention and the amount of time required to reach that level.

Plan of Care - The specific physical therapy interventions to be used and their timing and frequency.

Referral - The forwarding of a patient for professional services by one health care professional to another health care professional or health care entity which provides or supplies professional service, or the request for establishment of a plan of care by a health care professional, including the provision of professional services or other health care devices.

Wound Debridement and Care - The removal of loosely adhered necrotic and nonviable tissue by a PT to promote healing, done in conjunction with a physician or podiatric physician.


N.J.S.A. § 45:9-37.13

N.J.A.C. § 13:39A-2.1

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