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Ethical Issues In Physical Therapy


Physical therapists are medical professionals who help those impacted by diseases, injuries, and mobility issues. They help patients improve their quality of life by restoring movement and function.

Physical therapists often have to have physical contact with patients to help them regain mobility. Because of this, they may encounter ethical issues in their practice on a regular basis. By understanding them and knowing how to address them, physical therapists can uphold the highest standards of professionalism and patient care in their practice.

Patient Autonomy

Physical therapists must allow patients to make informed decisions about their healthcare. They should provide patients with information about their treatment options and potential risks and benefits so they can make the right decisions.


Physical therapists must maintain patient confidentiality and privacy. Patient information must be kept secure and only shared with those authorized by the patient or required by law.

Professional Boundaries

The relationship needs to be focused on the patient’s best interests. Because of this, physical therapists are required to maintain appropriate professional boundaries with their patients. This means they must avoid romantic relationships with patients as well as conflicts of interest.

Competence and Continuing Education

Physical therapists have to be competent in their field. Best practices and advances in the medical field are always changing, so physical therapists need to stay on top of the changing times by enhancing their competence through continuing education and professional development activities.

Scope of Practice

Physical therapists must practice within the scope of their license. They have to follow professional standards and guidelines. This means referring patients to other healthcare professionals when necessary.


Physical therapists need to bill for the correct procedures. Incorrect billing can happen in a number of ways and can be considered fraud, which can result in criminal penalties.

Documentation Lapses 

Physical therapists must ensure timely and accurate documentation of patient encounters. Lapses in documentation or shortcuts can compromise patient care and credibility.

Productivity Quotas

Physical therapists often have to deal with productivity demands from their employers. They must ensure they meet quotas without compromising patient care. Falsifying billing or misrepresenting services to do so is unethical.


Substance abuse is an issue that can happen to healthcare providers. In any case, it needs to be dealt with promptly. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can jeopardize patient safety. These issues need to be recognized and addressed with intervention and support. 

Keep Your License With Help From a Tampa Physical Therapist License Lawyer

Physical therapists have to touch the patients — sometimes in uncomfortable ways — and this can cause them to be accused of misconduct from an unhappy client.

Physical therapists who are facing administrative issues should get the legal help they need. A Tampa physical therapist lawyer from The Law Offices of David P. Rankin, P.A. can give you the advice you need to hold onto your license. Fill out the online form or call (813) 968-6633 to schedule a consultation.