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PTA Blog Talk

The TP Room

Published August 10, 2010 3:43 PM by Jason Marketti

I recently worked with a patient who had some visual, balance and cognitive difficulties. When it was time for therapy he would comply with all requests and work very hard to achieve any goal that we had set. I smiled a lot during the session because of the way words or phrases would come out during our discussions. He would say, "I like TP, I think it is good for me." (Of course he meant to say PT).

I didn't correct him a lot during our sessions because I thought that may be more of a distraction than actually helping with what we were working on. And this got me to thinking about correcting patients during our therapy sessions. How much should we do?

There was one patient I worked with who could not grasp the concept of pushing up from a chair. The front wheel walker was easier to pull from to come to a complete upright position. When the front wheel walker was withdrawn, the patient sat there unsure of what to do or how to go about standing up. So I decided to go with the "safe and unsafe" routine.

If a technique is safe and the patient does not pose a risk for self-harm, i.e., falls, I will do very little correction. On the other hand, if the technique is unsafe I review with the patient at every opportunity. For example, patients who cannot verbally recall posterior hip precautions but are able to follow them with ADLs - are they safe?

The patient who likes the TP room did not need me to correct the term because that was not what we were focused on at that time. Offering a correction may have distracted him more, making him feel self conscious and unwilling to participate. And besides, TP is good for us.


The most memorable misspeak occurred with a patient I had as a student.  I was observing his treatment with a speech therapist.  She showed him a picture and asked him to identify it.  He said, "cow."  Then she repeated to him, "This is a picture of a cow?"  He gasped in horror, "No, no, no."  It was a photo of his wife.  Only his speech was affected, he understood perfectly.

Your post this week goes hand in hand with Veronica's.  She is talking about being restricted by a patient's social situation.  You are talking about being restricted by a patient's physical/cognitive condition.  In both instances, you have to shoot for a best case scenario.  These are great opportunties to brainstorm with colleagues - on site or virtually!  Oftentimes creative solutions will arise in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances.  

Janey Goude August 15, 2010 3:31 PM

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About this Blog

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