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Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Aides

Aides

A licensed physical therapist is not prohibited from assigning or delegating various activities to other individuals who may, from time to time, aid and assist a licensed physical therapist or certified physical therapist assistant in the provision of physical therapy services; provided that such activities are performed under the direct on-premises supervision of a licensed physical therapist or certified physical therapist assistant and the level of such activities do not require formal education or training in the practice of physical therapy, the skill and knowledge of a licensed physical therapist and the skill and knowledge of a properly certified physical therapist assistant.

What can an aide do?

The physical therapist may only allow supportive personnel to perform patient-related activities which do not require the formal education or training and the skill and knowledge of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, and only while the supportive personnel are under the direct on-premise supervision of a physical therapist.

What is an aide expressly prohibited from doing?

The physical therapist may not permit supportive personnel to provide physical therapy services. The physical therapist may permit supportive personnel to perform the following:

    • Patient assistance in preparation for treatment, as necessary during treatment and at the conclusion of treatment.
    • Application of superficial heat or cold as an adjunct to the treatment program.
    • Assembly, disassembly and maintenance of equipment and accessories.
    • Transportation of patients.
    • Assistance to patients with nontreatment aspects of activities and attending the personal needs of patients.
    • Recording information through the use of flow sheets and checklists which identify activities performed by the patient.

 The physical therapist may not permit supportive personnel to interpret referrals, perform evaluation procedures, conduct tests, initiate or adjust treatment programs, assume responsibility for patient care or document physical therapy treatment.

Supervision

Direct on-premises supervision of a licensed physical therapist or certified physical therapist assistant.

The physical presence of a licensed physical therapist in the facility, including affiliated buildings in immediate proximity, who is immediately available to exercise supervision, direction and control. 

Identification

Supportive personnel shall identify themselves to patients as supportive personnel.

Citations

63 P. S. § 9.2

49 Pa. Code § 40.31a

49 Pa. Code § 40.32

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