Choosing a Geriatric Physical Therapist

by | Jan 30, 2014 | Healthcare, Massage Therapy logoWith the baby boomer population aging, the field of geriatric physical therapy has grown. More and more patients of physical therapy are elderly, and therapists are meeting the needs of clients by becoming certified in geriatric modalities. In the county of Palm Beach, physical therapy is administered at private facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and privately in patients’ homes. Geriatric physical therapy’s main purpose is to help elderly people retain independence as long as possible by improving movement and assisting in the recovery a process following a surgery. In many situations, family members of elderly relatives are responsible for assisting with care. It’s important to understand how to find a good geriatric physical therapist to ensure that your loved one receives the best care.

Use a Therapist with Advanced Degrees

Geriatric physical therapy is its own modality with its own degree or certificates. While most physical therapists could handle your loved one’s care, those with geriatric backgrounds understand specifically how to work with older patients. The muscles and bones change with age, and elderly patients suffer from unique emotional and mental changes that can make physical therapy difficult at times. By choosing a therapist who has experience in the geriatric field, you can feel comfortable that your therapist understands the complications that can arise with elderly patients.

Use Assistants Who Have Supervision

Most Palm Beach physical therapy facilities will use assistants to help patients during recovery. While most assistants are just as passionate about physical therapy as the therapists, it’s important that your loved one receives care from an assistant who is supervised by a licensed therapist. Do not allow an assistant to handle the majority of the care, or not report back to the therapist about your loved one’s therapy session. Make sure that the assistant is used in a capacity that’s proper for his or her professional adequacies.

Choose a Therapist Who Works Well with Your Doctor

When a geriatric patient receives physical therapy, it’s important that the therapist reports to the patient’s primary doctor or specialist. This allows the doctor and therapist to work together to create a treatment plan that is appropriate and medically necessary. In some cases your loved one’s doctor may recommend a therapist, but make sure that you feel comfortable with the recommendation. In many situations, you will be able to choose a therapist that’s approved by your insurance plan, so don’t feel obligated to use a Palm Beach physical therapy facility just because it’s recommended by your doctor.

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