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PTA Blog Talk

The Five Rights

Published July 16, 2008 3:56 PM by Jason Marketti

Since nurses have the five rights when it comes to medicine administration (the right drug, the right dose, the right route, the right time, the right patient) I figured it was time to establish the five rights with physical therapy administration. They are as follows:

1)      The Right Order. The PT should get verbal or written confirmation from the primary health professional as to what they want done. Find the weight-bearing status of the patient, precautions and how aggressive the provider wants us to be based on the diagnosis of the patient. This can also work where there is direct access after the PT refers the patient to the primary health provider (M.D., ANP, PA-C).

2)      The Right Patient. Did we check the ID wrist bracelet prior to treatment? Did the front desk get a copy of the patient's drivers license? If we work in a dementia unit and identification is sketchy make sure a nurse is consulted prior to treatment to ensure the correct patient receives services from us. 

3)      The Right Assessment. Did we assess how well the patient maintains a weight-bearing precaution? Did we assess gait pattern and flexion and extension of the trunk with a workers compensation case? Was the patient's strength and mobility/range of motion assessed? Was our assessment based on the written goals?

4)      The Right Documentation. If it was not written, it was not done. We need to document exactly what we assessed. We need to ensure others can read our documentation and we need to clearly define why we are seeing the patient for skilled physical therapy services. 

5)      The Right Follow-Up Care. Is the evaluating PT delegating appropriately and is the PTA informing the PT about the patient's achievement of goals? At discharge are we informing the discharge planners about the patient's needs of assistive devices or other medical equipment needed for the patient? Are we ensuring the patient is doing their home exercise program correctly? 

I am sure there can be other rights when it comes to patients and physical therapy but this seemed like I got most of the rights covered. And I am absolutely sure this can be expanded and explained in more detail depending on the therapist and the patients we see.   

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About this Blog


    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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