Become a Physical Therapy Aide
for a rewarding career as a valued member of the physical therapy team while
learning all about the human body, specific disorders, and the way physical
therapists treat these disorders.
We'll begin by exploring the history of physical therapy and the relationships between physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy aides. You'll get training on how to communicate effectively with other health care professionals and patients. You'll also come to understand the medical documentation that physical therapists use and principles of ethics and law that affect the PT aide.
Physical therapists often use words and terms that may be unfamiliar to you, so we'll devote some time to learning much of the language of PT. We'll then spend two lessons studying the body's 11 organ systems. You'll learn the names of the organs in each system, their main functions, and some common disorders.
Health care professionals must take extra care to avoid the spread of infection, so we'll go over that important subject. Along with infection control, you'll learn proper body mechanics and how to safely move patients. We'll also cover the normal gait cycle, and you'll learn how to help patients walk with assistive devices like walkers, crutches, and canes.
Physical therapists use physical agents like heat, cold, ultrasound, and electricity to treat many of their patients, so we'll explore these agents. You'll learn when PTs use them and important precautions. We'll move on to a discussion of exercise, and we'll spend a lesson studying the principles of strengthening, aerobic, and range-of-motion exercises.
We'll close with a study of balance and coordination disorders. You'll learn about the vestibular system—an important mechanism that helps you keep your balance. We'll also talk about treating children with developmental coordination disorder and developmental delays.
By the time you finish this six-week course, you'll have gained valuable knowledge and be well on your way to becoming an important member of the physical therapy team!
To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:
Internet access, e-mail, the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser.
All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two
lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do
not have to be present when the lesson is released, but you must complete each
lesson within two weeks of its release.
A new section of each course starts on the second or third Wednesday of each month. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.
|Wednesday - Lesson 01|
|In our first lesson, I'll introduce you to the
profession of physical therapy (PT). You'll learn about the history of
PT and how two wars and an epidemic created a need for this profession.
To help you understand what makes PTs different from other health care
professionals, we'll discuss the types of patients who need PT and the
types of treatment PTs use. You'll understand the important difference
between PTs, PT assistants, and PT aides as you come to understand the
special role of PT aides.
|Friday - Lesson 02|
|As a PT aide, you'll communicate with many different
people, so in today's lesson, we'll focus on the communication skills
you'll need to help you communicate with your supervising PT, patients,
and their families. You'll learn about some of the challenges you'll
face when communicating with sick or injured people, and how to
demonstrate the traits of empathy, respect, and patience. We'll also
spend some time on SOAP notes—the method many medical personnel use to
document their evaluations and patient treatments.
|Wednesday - Lesson 03|
|This very important lesson will help you stay out of
trouble because today, we'll discuss law and ethics for the PT aide.
You'll learn the differences between law and ethics and why you must be
concerned about both. We'll go over the American Physical Therapy
Association's Code of Ethics, relating its principles to PT aides. We'll
also talk about the American Hospital Association's A Patient's Bill
of Rights so you'll know how you should treat patients in different
situations. You'll want to understand both negligence and malpractice,
so we'll cover those topics, too. Finally, we'll spend some time on the
very important topic of patient confidentiality. You can face stiff
penalties if you violate patient confidentiality, so I want to make sure
you thoroughly understand this topic.
|Friday - Lesson 04|
|Have you ever noticed that every profession has its
own unique language? The health care profession is no different. As a PT
aide, it's vitally important that you understand the language that PTs
use, so we'll focus on that in this lesson. We'll cover planes of the
body and directional terms. You'll also learn the terms that define the
body's major regions and body cavities. The movements of joints have
special names, so I'll define them and share lots of graphics that
demonstrate these movements. We'll finish with some other terms related
to function and movement in the last chapter.
|Wednesday - Lesson 05|
|In this lesson, we'll begin our discussion of the
body's organ systems. We'll go over how your body is organized, from
atoms to an entire individual. We'll discuss the muscular, skeletal,
nervous, endocrine, circulatory, and lymphatic systems. You'll learn
about the organs in each of these systems, the jobs they perform, and
disorders affecting these systems that are commonly treated by PTs.
|Friday - Lesson 06|
|We'll continue our discussion of the organ systems in
this lesson. To start out, we'll go over how our organ systems are
interrelated and how a problem with one system will affect the others.
We'll then move on to a discussion of the integumentary (skin),
digestive, urinary, respiratory, and reproductive systems. Just like in
Lesson 5, you'll learn about each system's organs, function, and some
common disorders. We'll finish the lesson with a discussion of the most
important concept in human physiology—homeostasis. Homeostasis means the
drive of your body to keep many different variables, like blood pressure
and temperature, within a certain range. I'll tell you why this is so
crucial and how you might be asked to monitor homeostasis while caring
|Wednesday - Lesson 07|
|We'll start discussing specific safety issues in this
lesson, focusing on infection control. Anyone working in healthcare must
understand the meaning of infection, its causes, and how its spreads. To
help you understand this, we'll discuss the chain of infection and what
you can do to break that chain so infection doesn't spread from one
person to another. We'll spend some time on an infection called MRSA
because it's so common and dangerous. Since proper hand hygiene is the
most effective way to stop infection from spreading, we'll go over the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines. We'll also talk
about patient-care equipment, environmental control, and the role of
|Friday - Lesson 08|
|We'll discuss important safety issues again in this
lesson, but this time, instead of infection, we'll focus on proper body
mechanics and safe patient transfers. Body mechanics means the posture
of your body and how you move it. You must understand proper body
mechanics to protect yourself from injury. We'll start out with a
discussion of the anatomy of the spine since the spine gets hurt most
often when we ignore proper body mechanics. We'll talk about proper
posture and the importance of paying attention to your center of
gravity. We'll also go over a list of principles for using proper body
mechanics and guidelines for moving patients in a variety of different
situations. We'll end with a discussion of lifting machines, which PTs
now commonly use to transfer patients.
|Wednesday - Lesson 09|
|Most of us take walking for granted, but many
patients must learn to walk again after an illness or injury. PTs often
ask their aides to help with this, so you must understand what types of
conditions make it hard for people to walk. You should also understand
the normal gait cycle, so I'll spend some time on that topic and tell
you about common deviations from normal gait. We'll spend quite a bit of
time discussing different ambulatory devices including parallel bars,
walkers, crutches, and canes and how they're used in PT.
|Friday - Lesson 10|
|PTs use physical agents, rather than medications or
surgery, to treat patients. These agents include heat, cold, ultrasound,
traction, and electricity. To explain these agents, we'll start with a
discussion about the relationship between a disease or injury and one's
ability to perform activities of daily living. We'll then follow a
fictitious Mrs. Smith as she struggles to recover from a car accident.
You'll learn about the physical agents her PT chooses and how they
affect her body. We'll end with a discussion of contraindications (when
an agent should never be used) and precautions (when an agent must be
used with extra care).
|Wednesday - Lesson 11|
|Along with physical agents, PTs use exercise to treat
patients. In this lesson, I'll introduce you to three types of
exercise—strength training, aerobic exercise, and range-of-motion
exercise. You'll learn how muscles are put together and why resistance
is necessary to build strength. I'll teach you about three important
principles you should know when supervising a strength training program.
We'll also go over aerobic exercise, and you'll learn how it increases a
person's ability to use oxygen. Finally, you'll learn about
range-of-motion exercises. You'll find out how PTs measure how far a
patient can move a joint and why joints sometimes become limited in
their motion. We'll talk about different types of range-of-motion
exercises and important principles to follow.
|Friday - Lesson 12|
|In our final lesson, we'll explore balance,
coordination, and developmental delays. We'll focus on children in this
lesson, although the information will be helpful if you're treating
adults, too. You'll learn about a special sensory system called the
vestibular system and how important it is for maintaining balance. I'll
give you examples of activities PTs use to treat children with balance
problems, and you'll learn about the adaptive response—something PTs
continually look for when treating children. We'll move on to a
discussion of developmental coordination disorder, and you'll learn how
important it is for professionals to properly diagnose this condition.
We'll end this course with the subject of developmental delays. You'll
learn about developmental milestones and how PTs treat children who fail
to meet those milestones. We'll also discuss how PTs use developmental
activities with adults who have sustained traumatic brain injuries.
To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:
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