Answers to Popular Questions

Check out the Practice Advice frequently asked questions and videos.

FAQs: Consent

  • As a PT, I've often heard that consent is a conversation, not a form. What exactly does that mean?

  • What is a lock box?

  • What is the age of consent for physiotherapy treatment?

  • What information do I need to provide a patient to be confident I get their informed consent for an assessment or treatment plan?

  • What evidence do I need from a patient to show consent for physiotherapy care?

  • Do I need to get consent for the involvement of a student in a patient's care?

  • If I am providing home-care to a patient who has Alzheimer's Disease, do I need to document the patient's consent every time I treat?

FAQs: Controlled Acts

  • What are controlled acts?

  • Which controlled acts can physiotherapists in Ontario perform?

  • Do I need to roster for each individual controlled act?

  • Can a physiotherapist delegate a controlled act to another person?

  • How does delegation take place? What is the difference between a direct order and a medical directive?

  • Can I delegate O2 titration to a physiotherapist assistant (PTA)?

  • The PTA will need to switch the patient from the wall supply to a portable O2 tank, and stay at 2 L/min. Does this require delegation?

  • I have a patient who is on 2 LPM (L/min) of oxygen by nasal prongs. I want to assign gait training to a physiotherapist assistant (PTA). The PTA will need to switch the patient from the wall supply to a portable O2 tank, and stay at 2 L/min.

  • Do physiotherapists need to be rostered to increase a patient’s supplemental O2 level?

  • I treat patients with urinary and bowel incontinence. Can I ask a patient to document their fibre and fluid intake, add some types of fibre where appropriate and reduce certain foods to evaluate the food types' influence on bowels?

FAQs: Ethical Dilemmas

FAQs: Relationships & Boundaries

  • I don’t understand why PTs can’t date their patients. If we’re all consenting adults then what’s the big deal?

  • What should I do if I suspect one of my co-workers is dating one of his or her patients?

  • I know I cannot date a current patient, but what if a former patient asks me out?

  • One of my patients is very flirtatious. I think she likes me. What should I do?

  • A PT student on a placement with me has been regularly having coffee with one of the patients. What should I do?

  • How should I explain the mandatory reporting requirement to a patient who has been abused?

  • What happens to the mandatory report after it is made to the College?

  • I see patients for years and sometimes get invited to attend birthday parties and other events. If professional boundaries are maintained, are there any other ethical issues I should consider?

  • Can I accept a gift from a patient?

FAQs: Working with Physiotherapist Assistants (PTAs)

  • 1. Who can be a physiotherapist assistant (PTA)?

  • 2. I’m a physiotherapist assistant who would like to become a member of the College? How do I register?

  • 3. Do all aides and assistants need to be called PTAs? Is Physiotherapist Assistant (PTA) a protected title? If I use a different job title in my practice, do I need to change it to meet the Standard?

  • 4. Can a physiotherapist assign ongoing reassessment to the physiotherapist assistant?

  • 5. Can my physiotherapist assistant do an assessment and develop a care plan?

  • 6. Do we need to have a written communication protocol for every patient or can we have one for the facility?

  • 7. Do I need to include the written communication protocol for PTs working with PTAs on each patient’s chart?

  • 8. When should a physiotherapist assistant contact the supervising physiotherapist?

  • 9. I am a PT in a hospital where PTAs are being asked to work on weekends. Are the PTs responsible for the PTA if something goes wrong on the weekend?

  • 10. Can I go on a vacation for 1 or 2 weeks and leave my patients with my PTA if another PT at another site agrees to be a contact for the PTA?

  • 11. If I am not available (for example, I am working at another facility, it is the weekend or I have a day off) and the physiotherapist assistant will continue treatment, do I need to appoint an alternate supervisor?

  • 12. Do I or the alternate supervisor need to be physically present when a PTA is providing treatment or can we be available by telephone?

  • 13. Is a physiotherapist required to co-sign health record entries completed by a physiotherapist assistant?

  • 14. Does a physiotherapist need to co-sign a physiotherapist assistant student's notes?

  • 15. Who does the College deem appropriate to be able to work as a support personnel or PTA?

  • 16. If the assessment is performed by someone other than a physiotherapist can the services be billed as physiotherapy?

  • 17. Do the physiotherapist assistant’s name and title need to appear on OHIP, MVA, WSIB or other third party payor forms?

  • 18. When does the physiotherapist assistant’s name and job title need to appear on the invoice?

  • 19. In situations where it is difficult to identify which PTA provided care to a patient, does the PT have to meet the expectation that the PTA’s name and job title will appear on invoices whenever they have provided all or part of the treatment?

  • 20. Can I delegate O2 titration to a physiotherapist assistant (PTA)?

  • 21. The PTA will need to switch the patient from the wall supply to a portable O2 tank, and stay at 2 litres. Does this require delegation?

  • 22. I have a long-standing PT therapeutic relationship with an elderly patient who directs all her care. She confided with me that the support worker assigned to her is rude and difficult to have around. I am concerned. What do I do?

Contact the Practice Advisor

For confidential practice advice, please contact:

Practice Advisor
416-591-3828 ext. 241
1-800-583-5885 ext. 241