Literature on the therapeutic uses of the aquatic environment in the United States dates back to the early 1900s. Aquatic therapy services have become increasingly prevalent in rehabilitation facilities over the past thirty years. Clinical practice demands a fundamental understanding of the physical properties of water, the physiological effects of immersion in water, safety measures, and the basic elements of aquatic therapy.
The inclusion of this content in PT and PTA programs is not consistent with the aquatic environment. The CAPTE standards and requirements for accreditation of physical therapy and physical therapy assistant programs include interventions such as functional training, motor function training, and therapeutic exercise. All CAPTE-accredited PT and PTA programs include these components for land interventions. As a result, entry-level programs in this area of clinical practice are necessary.
This presentation will provide suggested didactic content on fundamental and introductory components of aquatic rehabilitation, delivery methods, and laboratory experiences for PT and PTA programs. Identifying content experts to deliver this material poses a challenge for many programs if core faculty does not possess this knowledge. Identifying those with expertise that is readily available to academic programs will also be discussed.
Course Objectives & Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the course, the learner will be able to:
- Identify the fundamental content related to the physical properties of water, the physiological impact of immersion, and safety measures in the aquatic environment to be included in entry-level PT and PTA programs;
- Apply the physical properties of water and the impact of immersion to specific aquatic interventions;
- Determine specific aquatic interventions and aquatic equipment appropriate to include in entry-level PT and PTA education programs; and
- Incorporate educational techniques and locate clinicians and educators knowledgeable in the delivery of aquatic rehabilitation interventions.
Instructor: Jean M. Irion, PT, ATC, EdD
Dr. Irion is a Professor and outgoing inaugural Chair of the Physical Therapy Program at Emory and Henry College. She recently retired in August of 2021 with 31 years of physical therapy education experience in both PT and transitional DPT education. She has a Doctorate in Higher Education from the University of AR at Little Rock with an emphasis on teaching. She is a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Sports Physical Therapy since 1992. She has over 38 years of clinical experience with particular emphasis in women’s health, sports PT, occupational health and aquatic therapy and 4 years as a certified athletic trainer.
Her teaching load for over 30 years in 3 different physical therapy programs included a sequential introduction to the aquatic environment with progression to specific interventions in the aquatic environment with application to a variety of patient populations and specific conditions throughout the lifespan. She also taught a graduate elective course in aquatic therapy for PT and OT students and has been an invited speaker on many occasions on a regional and national level on aquatic therapy and aquatic therapy program development. Dr. Irion was engaged in research projects in the aquatic environment and authored 2 chapters and one research article on aquatic therapy and has an additional chapter, Aquatic Therapy in Women’s Health, in her Women’s Health textbook.
Note: CEU is not applicable in AK, CO, HI, LA, NJ, NM, NV
Note: CEU is not pre-approved in the following states, but licensees may seek their own approval in AR, CA, DE, OH, TX
All other states: .2 CEU/2 CCU or contact hours