A referral to a physical therapist may be made if a person exhibits any of the following diagnoses:
Orthopedic problems as arthritis, degenerative joint disease, joint replacements as knees and hips, bone fractures, muscle weaknesses, and decreased endurance.
Neurological problems as Parkinson’s disease, stroke or CVA,
Pain problems; frail elderly and medically complex patients.
Cancer, Diabetic neuropathies with numbness in hands or feet, Failure to thrive, decline in general health status, history of falls or balance problems, physically disabled and marginally able to stay at home, changes in mental status or sudden onset of confusion. Inability to move or walk without assistance.
The physical therapist evaluates the patient to establish goals and treatment that are based on problems identified. The treatment may include:
1. Therapeutic exercise including strengthening and stretching.
3. Gait and ambulation training with equipment as needed (walker,
crutches, cane, brace, safety belt around patient for fall prevention)
4. Balance and coordination training.
5. Pain management training.
6. Instructions to patient, family, caregivers for care of patient and home
7. Adaptations of home including: improved light sources (especially at
night), removal of throw rugs or cords across floor, rearrangement of
furniture, obtaining bedside commode, platforms for chair, wheelchairs,
8. Use of modalities as needed (heating pads, ice packs, and ultrasound).