Physical therapy in this setting is provided to
individuals who are admitted to a hospital for
short-term patient care.
Examples: illness, surgery, accident, or recovery
from a trauma
The goal is to discharge the patient as soon as he
or she is medically stable and has a safe place to
Only 8.6% of practicing PTAs are in the acute care
Types of Patients
The types of patients can range from
infants to the elderly with all types of
Mean percent of time spent with patients in
each age group
Elderly – 51.8%
Adults – 38.6%
Children – 2.2%
Toddlers – 1.4%
Infants – 1.9%
Diagnoses and Treatments
Patients who have undergone joint replacement
surgery is the most frequently seen patient group.
Cardiac disorders and stroke victims are other high
frequency patient group.
Mean percent of patient conditions
Joint replacement – 13.6%
Cardiac disorders – 7.7%
Stroke – 7.4%
Re-training the patient to walk, assessing the patient
for the need for assistive devices such as walkers or
crutches, teaching joint protection, addressing
balance issues and safety awareness with transfers
are a few areas addressed in this setting.
PTAs have the opportunity to become recognized for
advanced proficiency though APTA.
This program is voluntary and PTAs are not required to be
recognized in order to work in a specific area.
There are some areas that would be beneficial to the acute
Example: Cardiovascular and Pulmonary, Neuromuscular,
Integumentary, Geriatrics, and Musculoskeletal
Recognition via APTA Acute Care Section awards
Mary Sinnott Award for Clinical Excellence in Acute Care
James Dunleavy Distinguished Service Award
Fellowship Award Resource Guides, including Lab Values