Physical therapist assistants work under the supervision of physical therapists to rehabilitate ill or injured persons to the highest possible level of independent living. They also help to educate patients and other people about measures they can take to prevent disability from occurring or becoming worse.
Physical therapist assistants help therapists in testing patients to determine the extent of their capabilities. After the therapist sets goals and plans the treatment program for the patient, assistants may be assigned to perform selected treatments, using a variety of specialized equipment, various forms of heat, cold, light and electricity. Assistants may help patients perform therapeutic exercises to strengthen, stretch or relax muscles, promote circulation or enhance coordination.
Physical therapist assistants help patients learn correct walking procedures and perform everyday activities such as dressing, getting in and out of bed and chairs, using artificial limbs, braces and splints and standing properly. They also teach patients and family members about exercises or other activities to continue at home.
Assistants are responsible for reporting patient reactions to treatment and making suggestions for modifying treatment to their supervising therapist. They also help with documentation of patient progress, perform certain clerical duties and help give on-the-job training to non-licensed personnel working in the physical therapy department.
Upon successful completion of all didactic, laboratory and clinical requirements of the program, graduates become eligible to apply to take licensure examinations. The Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Athletic Trainers Board must approve all applicants prior to obtaining licensure in the State of Ohio. Graduates must pass the Ohio Laws and Rules Examination and the National Physical Therapy Examination to be eligible to be licensed in Ohio. Licensure is mandatory prior to being able to practice as a physical therapist assistant in Ohio.
Prospective students in the physical therapist assistant program (PTAP) must meet specific eligibility criteria as outlined in program prerequisite requirements.