What is a PTA?

Written by Jessica Umholtz

Hello, my name is Jess, and I’m a PTA. What is a PTA? I am asked that question all the time. First let me tell you what PTA stands for; Physical Therapist Assistant. The quick and dirty explanation I give to my patients is “I’m like what a PA is to an MD.” The definition that is given by the American Physical Therapy Association is, “Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work as part of a team to provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist. PTAs implement selected components of patient/client interventions (treatment), obtain data related to the interventions provided, and make modifications in selected interventions either to progress the patient/client as directed by the physical therapist or to ensure patient/client safety and comfort.”

What does all that mean?? Well that means that I, as a PTA, can do almost all of the treatments that the therapist who did your evaluation has planned out for you, as well as help and educate you and your family through your rehabilitation process. There are only a few little things that as an assistant I am not allowed to do. Two main things are that I cannot do Initial Evaluations or Re-Evaluations. And there are a few little manual therapies (therapy that we do for/to you) that the therapists only do, but other than that, I can do it all! I can answer your questions, guide you through your exercises, perform the majority of your manual therapies, set you up on modalities, and even progress your therapy. I love doing my job and I love helping my patient’s get better, stronger, and more able to do what they love to do whether it is at home, at work, or just for play!

I hope that has helped answer the question, “What is a PTA” for you. And I look forward to meeting you soon!

In the state of PA, patients with many insurances are able to see a Physical Therapist for the first 30 days of treatment without a prescription from a doctor. ProCare DOES work with physicians to obtain prescriptions. Call or stop today to discover if you are eligible!

Jessica works as a PTA in ProCare’s Pinecroft Clinic which is located at the Pinecroft Exit of interstate 99 next to Seltzer Power Sports
417 Sabbath Rest Road
Altoona, PA 16602

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