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News & Press: Announcements

Advanced Competency Program Provides Comprehensive HH Orientation

Wednesday, July 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Robin Childers
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Physical therapists are typically introduced to practice in the home care setting in a trial by fire. Either the companies that employ them provide the needed orientation to home care or the therapists themselves scramble to string together relevant courses to prepare for practice in this unique setting. Opportunities for home care internships for physical therapy students are rare. As a consequence of the lack of comprehensive orientation to the home care setting for physical therapists, even those professionals who have worked in home care for years may not know what they don’t know.

The Home Health Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has created the Advanced Competency in Home Health certificate program to provide physical therapists with a comprehensive orientation to physical therapy practice in the home care setting. Whether a program participant is entirely new to home care or a long-term practitioner, the forty-hour Advanced Competency program provides foundational coursework that synthesizes current evidence-based practice and tailors it to the unique physical therapy setting of home health.

The Advanced Competency in Home Health program includes an initial twenty hours of online education covering these core areas of home care practice: clinical assessment, pharmacology and medications, regulation and documentation, balance and falls, and ethics. Physical therapists must complete the first four of these five core courses in order to participate in an on-site weekend course, where they will demonstrate competency in the core content and learn to formulate evidence-based treatment care plans. Program candidates are also required to successfully complete four hours of online elective courses in order to receive the Advanced Competency in Home Health certificate.

Core courses for the Advanced Competency in Home Health program are available online from the APTA Learning Center. Participants are not required to be enrolled in the Advanced Competency program in order to take the program courses, with the exception of the weekend on-site course, which is open to program participants only. The program on-site course is currently planned for late September in Pittsburgh and again in February in New Orleans. The Home Health Section expects to expand its offerings of the on-site course as demand increases and registration for most on-site courses will be available through the Home Health Section website.

The Home Health Section expects to begin rolling out online elective courses through the  this fall. Pending elective topics include vestibular, advanced patient management, incontinence, orthopedic, neurologic, palliative care, cognition and mental APTA Learning Centerhealth. The Home Health Section plans to expand the available elective courses over time. Certificate candidates have twenty-four (24) months to successfully complete all of the required program coursework.

With the launch of the Advanced Competency in Home Health program, the Home Health Section strives to assure clients, employers, and the general public of the competence of individual physical therapists practicing in home care, as well as to provide therapists entirely new to home care with a comprehensive launch point. This program also supports the Home Health Section’s goal to integrate evidence-based practice principles in physical therapist practice in home and community-based settings.

Professionals who successfully complete this program are awarded a program lapel pin, a certificate for framing or display, and may indicate that they have attained the “Certificate of Advanced Competency in Home Health”.


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