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PTA Blog Talk

PT/PTA Relationships

Published February 17, 2009 7:35 PM by Jason Marketti
The PT asked me one day if there was anyone I thought was appropriate for the restorative nursing assistants (RNAs) to work on.  Well, if a PT asks for my input I am not shy about giving it.  I listed about five patients and the reasons why the RNAs should be involved. Then the PT began to leave the room, seeming to ignore my further input on the other patients I was going to mention.

About a week or so later, the PT was doing screens and asked whether I thought some of the patients were appropriate and wondered if I could think of justification for skilled services.  As usual, if you ask me I will tell you straight up.  I went down a list of things we could do with some of the patients and was astonished to see them shot down one after another.  The PT even went on to say why those patients were not appropriate for skilled therapy.

So my big question would be, why ask me?

The PT I work with is experienced.  She did not need my input for this but chose to ask me, then ignored my suggestions.  So what should I do?

     A) Tell her to "Therapy Up" and make a decision without me;

     B) Continue to give my professional input if asked;

     C) Act like I don't know and pretend I care;

     D) Complain about it in my blog every week.

5 comments

I have worked with some great PTA's.  Ones that have as much, if not more experience working with patients as I do.  When it comes to getting report about how a patient is doing under the care of the PTA, it only makes sense to ask the PTA if they are still progressing, plateaued, or if treatment plans need to be modified.  A good PT recognizes how valuable a good PTA is and is crazy if he doesn't take advantage of the PTA's expertise.  As a PTA, find out what criteria the PT uses for making these decisions and make your recommendations from that direction.  It will go a long way to improving your relationship with the PT and improving their trust in you.

Doug March 27, 2009 2:52 PM

I would continue to give my input if asked. But I would also ask the PT what her findings were when she did the screen in determining why they did not need skilled Physical Therapy. %0d%0aI have bee a PTA for 13 years and have worked with many PT's and am also a rehab manager in a small facility. I have found in some situations that some Physical Therapists are not very comfortable with treating long term care residents in a SNF because they are afraid of denials from Medicare. So I think that it is important to communicate with the PT.

Linda, PTA March 21, 2009 2:33 PM

I would continue to give my input if asked. But I would also ask the PT what her findings were when she did the screen in determining why they did not need skilled Physical Therapy.

I have bee a PTA for 13 years and have worked with many PT's and am also a rehab manager in a small facility. I have found in some situations that some Physical Therapists are not very comfortable with treating long term care residents in a SNF because they are afraid of denials from Medicare. So I think that it is important to communicate with the PT.

Linda, PTA March 21, 2009 2:31 PM
Fairhaven MA

Zak is right.  Communicate with the PT.  If you can find what clinical pathways and decisions she is on you can help support those decisions and be more focused on patient care.  

Continue to give your input if asked.  You are a valuable contributor to the clinical decision making process and your advise is taken under consideration.  

She may have been wondering what clinical decisions you would have made to better assess your ability of patient care as well.

karen February 23, 2009 9:49 AM

communication is the key.  Having been a PTA and now a PT understanding the roles and relationships are important.

Realizing that your input was received, you fulfilled your roll, accepting the clinical assesment from the PT is also part of the team effort, wether or not it agrees with your clinical assessment.  Be aware of the positive aspects of the problem, the PT asked for your advice.  This is a positive thing.  The PT made a clinical decision based on that information.  Now look at why the PT made those clinical decisions.  Best advice just ask the PT why they were not skilled.  And if they werent you can now see what clinical lines the PT is addressing during assessment.  

zak, Supervisor - PT February 19, 2009 7:53 PM

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About this Blog


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