Our long-term initiative is to support those who need our help. Through the NHW Foundation, we are working to assist people helping others and those impacted nationally or globally by disasters in and outside the United States where we are based. The NHW Foundation is working to provide educational and professional opportunities to prepare the next generation of emergency physical therapist leaders for the healthcare workforce.
We started this mission since NHWs inception by steeply discounting DPT student ticket prices to our events. We have created a research fund to support much-needed scientific investigation and publication to improve the practice and permit us to reach more people in need of our care.
bring a broad range of people together, consultation, education, resources, developing practice standards together, information/resources for
wide range of practice.'
Where have we been, and where are we headed?
Since the beginning of our professional careers, part of the excitement was to build a practice that was far from what it has become and far from what it will be someday. The first US #EDPT practice started as a collaboration between an open-minded group of community emergency physicians, hospital administrators, and a physiotherapist from Canada who trained and also worked in England and South Africa as a physio in Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments before moving to Tucson, AZ. The problem hospital leadership encountered was twofold. It was 1997, and the US Congress had just passed the Balanced Budget Act (BBA). PTs were faced with getting laid off in anticipation of mandates reducing post-acute care expenditures. The second problem for the hospital was related to suboptimal insurance contracts impacting the hospital's bottom line, including possible bankruptcy.
With several hospital departments working together, they came up with a plan. This plan included two PTs who began a pilot project in the emergency department. They job-shared 7-twelve hour shifts in the ED, which was quickly considered a success. As with any innovative process, there have been many unforeseen issues they encountered along the way.
This included abandoning the idea of having the PTs floating back and forth between outpatient or inpatient areas. Therapists were dedicated to the ED only.
As a new process, this helped address the "out of sight, out of mind" phenomenon. Consistency was also crucial between the PTs. Keeping the same two individuals helped build not only recognition but also rapport and trust. Consistency also helped the therapists train for the unique clinical and procedural components of the emergency department. This lead to greater safety, efficacy, and efficiency in the therapists' practice.
Emergency care is not only largely patients with undifferentiated problems where time, efficiency, and accuracy are all key factors, it was operationally different from traditional therapy training or practices. In addition, being comfortable around fluctuating commotion, flexible, and having minimal to no ability to prepare for what you might see next is the norm. Often having one chance to get it right is not customary or what people look for when pursuing PT as a profession. This is a welcome and exciting way to practice for some physios, but not all view it this way. By comparing their skills and what was in the state PT scope of practice, they saw people with a wide range of conditions as they arrived in the ED. A sufficient number of early-adopting emergency medicine physicians referred enough patients to keep the PTs busy. People with dizziness, headaches, sprains, strains from all parts of the body, wounds, back pain, neck pain, and balance problems, gait abnormalities. People who are at risk of falling or after it had already happened. The feedback was excellent. It helped EM physicians.