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Any Legal Issues if PT or OT Providers Offer Aquatic Fitness Instruction?

Weigh in under the comments section. Do you think it is possible to remove your professional THERAPY hat and provide services as a personal trainer or fitness instructor in the pool?

Byline: Andrea Salzman, MS, PT

The duty of care is determined by the expectations of the individual seeking the as well as the qualifications of the person providing the service. When individuals seek fitness services from nonmedical instructors, they expect a general exercise program, not medical care; therefore, the fitness instructor’s duty to the participant does not rise to the level of what is expected in a patient-therapist relationship. The fitness instructor has a general duty to instruct exercises that are safe but no duty to examine individual participants and modify their exercises when individuals complain of pain as they would if the participant was a patient. So what duty of care is expected of the physical therapist acting as the fitness instructor?

The excerpt shown above is pulled from an article entiled Legal Issues for Physical Therapists Who Provide Fitness Services. While the article is not specific to aquatics, it addresses the issues at hand nicely. Click the link to see what your options are.

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