The Min-Mod-Max Debate
One of the first aspects of patient care I learned in the PTA program was the percentage between the levels of minimum to maximal assist. Being able to recognize the functional assist level is pivotal in the safety of the patient, as other therapists, including nursing staff, look to this recommendation in the patient's plan of care, for safe transfers.
Recently during one of our brief lunch breaks, a few of the physical therapists were discussing a new patient's transfer status. The patient in question was a tall man, nearly 300 pounds with sternal precautions. One of the therapists casually stated that when transferring this man edge-of-bed to his wheelchair, "My mod assist will not be the same as Allison's mod assist." The other PTs in the room took issue with that statement. I should preface this exchange by stating I was the only therapist I the room with less than 10 years experience (so I just intently listened).
I found the following friendly debate that ensued after that statement fascinating. The therapist who disagreed explained that "an assist" is based on the effort put forth by the patient - not the effort of the person transferring this patient. Therefore if I were to transfer this patient with a "mod assist," I could expect 50-75 percent patient effort. The therapist who made the original statement countered that if a smaller person (like me) would still be transferring potentially 150 pounds, it might "feel" like a "max assist" vs. a "mod assist."
I have to admit it was refreshing to find that even seasoned therapists can still debate and question even the most fundamental physical therapy rules. Even better, they listened and respected each other's thoughts without judgment, and left the conversation considering the opposite viewpoint. As a new therapist, this type of open exchange makes for a more receptive environment to ask the many physical therapy questions I still have, no matter how basic.