PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT PROGRAM
Physical Therapist Assistants, under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist, assist with specific components of treatment interventions. Their duties may include a variety of interventions including therapeutic exercises, functional training in both self-care and work reintegration, use of adaptive equipment, wound management, and the use of physical agents. They attain their requisite skills through extensive academic and clinical education. The Physical Therapist Assistant program is competency-based and provides sequential learning experiences progressing from theoretical to applied using patient simulations in the laboratory and finally to actual patient treatments in clinical education centers. During clinical education courses, students may practice at facilities throughout Maine under the supervision of clinical instructors.
Applicants to the Physical Therapist Assistant program should be aware that physical therapist assistants are involved in the provision of direct care to patients. Under the supervision of a physical therapist, the physical therapist assistant may be responsible for selected procedural interventions, data collection, and communication, including written documentation associated with the completion of the intervention. The physical therapist assistant must also be able to make judgments and modifications regarding the safety and comfort of the patient having the intervention. Therefore, the student must have observational, communication, motor, cognitive, psychosocial, and behavioral abilities sufficient to carry out the above responsibilities. Technical accommodation can be made available for some disabilities in some of these areas, but a student must be able to perform in a reasonably independent manner.
For students to successfully complete the Physical Therapist Assistant program, they must be capable of performing with or without reasonable accommodation the following:
- The physical ability to lift, move, and reposition patients; safely guard patients when standing and ambulating patients on level surfaces and stairs.
- A visual acuity with corrective lenses to identify equipment calibrations, distinguish color changes of a patient’s skin, and collect patient data.
- The manual dexterity to manipulate instrument dials and perform various therapeutic interventions.
- The tactile ability to palpate pulses and palpate specific components of the musculoskeletal system.
- A hearing ability with auditory aids to understand the normal speaking voice without viewing the speaker’s face, hear timers and call bells from patients, take/hear blood pressure and lung sounds with a stethoscope, and hear alarms and emergency signals.
- Effective communication when explaining procedures, receiving information verbally and from written documentation; documenting in a patient’s chart; exhibiting appropriate interpersonal skills; and recognizing and responding appropriately to nonverbal behavior of self and others.
- The ability to function safely under stressful conditions and the ability to adapt to an ever changing environment inherent in clinical situations involving patient care.
The program will produce entry-level physical therapist assistants who are capable of performing safe and ethical interventions under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist. Graduates will possess the skills and values necessary for continuing their professional growth to meet the needs of both a dynamic profession and health care delivery system.
- Graduates will be competent physical therapist assistants who work under the direction and supervision of physical therapists.
- Graduates will engage in lifelong learning activities.
- Graduates and the program will meet the human resources needs of the community.
The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Kennebec Valley Community College is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE)
1111 North Fairfax Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314