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Scope of Practice

 The Health Professions Council of the government of Canada has defined the scope of practice of physical therapy as follows:

The practice of physical therapy is the assessment and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory systems of the body by physical or mechanical means for the purpose of maintenance or restoration of function that has been impaired by injury or disease, for pain management and for the promotion of mobility and health.

Reserved acts

1.    Making a physical therapy diagnosis by determining the cause of subjective symptoms and objective signs relating to movement dysfunction and functional limitations.

2.  Communicating a diagnosis.

3. Performing the following physically invasive or physically manipulative acts:

(a) inserting needles below the dermis for the purpose of pain management and normalization of physiological functioning of the neuromusculoskeletal system;
(b) reducing a simple joint dislocation;

(c) movement of the joints of the spine beyond the limits the body can voluntarily achieve but within the anatomical range of motion using a high velocity, low amplitude thrust;

(e) for the purpose of bronchotracheal suctioning, putting an instrument:

ii. beyond the point in the nasal passages where they normally narrow,
iii. beyond the pharynx, or

vii. into an artificial opening into the body.

(e)(vi) for the purpose of performing reserved act 2(c) putting a finger(s) beyond the anal verge.

4. Applying a hazardous form of energy: laser, electricity, therapeutic ultrasound, or as prescribed by regulation.

5(a)(i) Administering on prescription, by inhalation or instillation, a mucolytic agent, bronchodilator or analgesic solution listed in Schedule I or II of the Pharmacists, Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act.

5(a)(ii) Administering on prescription, by iontophoresis or phonophoresis, a drug listed in Schedule I or II of the Pharmacists, Pharmacy Operations and Drug Scheduling Act.

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