The Importance of Assessing Vital Signs in Physical Therapy Outpatients
Received Date: August 13, 2021; Published Date:August 20, 2021
Physical Therapists are autonomous practitioners. Measuring vital signs including temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, and pulse oximetry allows physical therapists to screen for red flags. The therapists also monitor a patient’s cardiovascular response to exercise, incorporate relevant information into the plan of care and use the information gained for making clinical predictions . Common vital signs assessed in physical therapy settings include heart rate (HR), blood pressure (BP), respiration rate (RR), and blood oxygenation (SpO2). The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) states that the measurement of vital signs is one of the minimum skills required of physical therapists and these should be measured during every visit by a new patient or existing clients. However, current literature indicates regular assessment is not common practice in the profession of physical therapy, with less than half of physical therapists assessing vital signs in the majority of patient visits. Research indicates that across all practice settings, outpatient physical therapists are the least likely to perform regular vital signs assessment .