Physical therapists play key roles in:
- Prevention of primary and secondary disability.
- Rehabilitating injured persons to return to their previous activity.
- Rehabilitating senior citizens after debilitating disease to enable them to remain independent.
- Helping handicapped children to live within the least restrictive environment.
- Preventing and treating sports related injuries.
- Conducting research in the basic and clinical sciences.
- Consultation and education.
- Promotion of wellness.
Knowledge of the psychological and social ramifications of disability affecting the individual and his or her family is an integral part of physical therapy intervention. Legislation in Montana permits direct public access to physical therapists for evaluation and treatment without a physician referral. Even so, physical therapists remain committed to functioning as an integral member of the health care team.
Physical therapy is practiced in diversified settings, including:
- Outpatient clinics
- Rehabilitation facilities
- Skilled nursing, extended care, or subacute facilities
- Education or Research centers
- Schools (preschool, primary and secondary)
- Corporate or industrial health centers
- College, amateur, and professional athletic teams
- Fitness centers