Is Diathermy a Skilled Therapy?
One of my OT coworkers and I have fallen into bicker back and forth in fun. We have an unspoken agreement to agree to disagree. Usually we find some middle ground until the topic of diathermy came up. We disagree about whether this is a skilled therapy or not.
I say it's not. To me this is like a neuro chair transfer. Just about anyone could perform one. The skill isn't in performing the transfer, it's in the clinical judgment as to appropriateness and patient tolerance. Nor is the transfer therapeutic. That comes from being out of bed. Except for the first treatment, I don't believe diathermy is skilled. I can easily train someone to use the machine. Some of the newer ones even come with recommended settings printed on them.
The OT says skilled. He holds that it requires skill before and after each treatment to determine whether the treatment is needed. Further skill is needed to choose the appropriate settings and position the head. He agrees I could train someone to set it up but only a therapist can make those decisions. Hot packs are not a skilled service but diathermy is.
The discussion is further complicated because diathermy is a skilled charge. I maintain being able to charge for it doesn't make it skilled. That just means someone successfully lobbied for it to be possible. My OT counterpart maintains that because it can be charged, it is skilled.
We're not debating whether diathermy is an effective treatment modality. Research exists that supports both positions. From what I can tell it works for some, not for others. I'm told that is due to user, I mean therapist, error. Set up properly with the correct settings, diathermy is an effective treatment.
We aren't going to find common ground on this one.