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Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs

Ethics for Physical and Occupational Therapy Professionals

Ari Ginsberg, PT, DPT, MSIOP

Introduction to Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs

Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs is a 2.5 hour approved continuing education course for physical and occupational therapists. The course is approved for continuing education credits by the American Occupational Therapy Association, New York Board of Physical Therapy, New Jersey Board of Physical Therapy, and the Ohio Physical Therapy Association. The course provides a unique approach to ethical decision-making for physical and occupational therapists. The methodology utilized in the course is based on moral psychology, a field of study dedicated to understanding the psychological basis for moral principles and moral decision-making. 

Psychologists believe that morality is primarily intuitive, and reasoning is used after the fact to justify moral intuition. For example, people feel that it is wrong to steal or murder, and then they rationalize as to why it is wrong to steal or murder. Ethics for physical and occupational therapists is founded on the same principle as morality in general. Clinicians also rely on intuition first, especially in situations where ethical decisions are unclear. Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs explores ethical dilemmas that emerge in physical and occupational therapy practice and that an intuition first mentality reveals a multitude of perspectives on how to resolve ethical dilemmas in physical and occupational therapy practice.

Meet Your Course Instructor

My name is Ari Ginsberg, and I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy with a master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. I also have rabbinic ordination with a focus on Jewish philosophy. I am the founder of Psychology for the Body, a company dedicated to teaching rehab professionals the value and importance of integrating psychology into rehab. Psychology for the Body provides continuing education webinars, coaching services, and consulting services to healthcare organizations. The topics discussed in courses include preventing burnout, emotional intelligence, leadership, motivation, communication skills, bedside manner, and ethics. I have experience giving continuing education webinars to physical and therapy professional organizations including The American Physical Therapy Association of New Jersey and the Michigan Occupational Therapy Association. I have also lectured for other continuing education companies such as Redefine Health Education, Rehab Mobility Edge Solutions, and Home CEU Connection. I am passionate about sharing insights into psychology with my colleagues in rehab. Ethics for physical and occupational therapists is a key topic and I enjoy providing a fresh perspective on ethics for physical and occupational therapists.

Section 1

The first section delves into the definition of ethics and its intrinsic link to morality. Morality is a topic discussing what actions are considered right and wrong. Another topic discussed is the origins of morality. 

There are three opinions amongst psychologists. Some believe that morality is innate, given to us by a higher power. According to them, the principle that it is wrong to steal has been ingrained in our nature from a higher power. 

The second group maintains that morality emerges from our childhood experiences. For instance, we notice that when one child steals from another child on the playground, the child who was stolen from cries. 

The last group is of the opinion that certain elements of morality come from a higher power, whereas others come from our experiences. It is crucial to recognize that there is a lot of subjectivity in morality leading to significant differences amongst various cultures and ethnicities. 

Psychologists attribute this subjectivity to an intuition first approach in the development of moral principles. According to Jonathan Haidt, a famous moral psychologist, intuition comes first and reasoning second. Also, liberal, and conservative political adherents share many moral principles in common. Last, morality is positive in that it connects us to others with the same moral fiber, however, morality blinds us to seeing the morality of others.

Section 2

Ethics for physical and occupational therapists is founded on the APTA and AOTA Code of Ethics. Both provide guiding principles to help create a foundation for ethical decision making in professional practice. 

The APTA Code of Ethics was developed from seven core values including: accountability, altruism, collaboration, compassion and caring, duty, excellence, and integrity. While the mission of the APTA Code of Ethics is to provide physical therapists with ethical clarity when situations arise, there are many holes that are evident in the APTA Code of Ethics. 

Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs analyzes the boundaries of certain principles from the APTA Code of Ethics, as well the grey areas which rely on intuition. The first principle addresses the requirement of physical therapists to act respectfully toward others. The ethical ambiguity exists when the individual that the physical therapist is interacting with is rude and aggressive. 

Then the question is, is it unethical to be disrespectful to someone who is disrespectful to you. Another aspect of the first principle is to not discriminate based on biases. The question then is, what if it is a positive bias? Is it unethical to provide better care to a family member or friend? These are just some of the grey situations that are not addressed by the APTA Code of Ethics. All the scenarios spoken about in the course are experiences that I have encountered as a practicing physical therapist.

Some of the other principles explored from the APTA Code of Ethics are:

  • Putting patients’ interests before that of the physical therapist
  • Providing necessary information to patients and caregivers
  • The ethical considerations involved in professional judgements
  • Being an ethical clinical instructor
  • Reporting misconduct observed from colleagues
  • Recommending further physical therapy services
  • Evolving with new technology in physical therapy
  • Taking gifts from patients
  • Providing pro-bono services

Research is also offered to demonstrate a positive correlation between productivity demands and unethical behaviors. The results showed that the higher the productivity demands the more unethical behaviors occurred. It is therefore essential that rehab professionals recognize the effect of productivity demands on ethics for physical and occupational therapists.

Section 3

The AOTA Code of Ethics is like the APTA Code of Ethics in that its mission is to provide guidance for occupational therapists on ethical decision making. The AOTA Code of Ethics was updated in 2020 to reflect the evolution of the occupational therapy profession. It is founded on six core values including: beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, justice, veracity, and fidelity. Just as there are holes in the APTA Code of Ethics there are holes in the AOTA Code of Ethics in resolving ethical dilemmas in occupational therapy practice. The ethical boundaries discussed in the course are:

  • Sharing information that would undermine a patient’s treatment (acupuncture, taping…)
  • Seeing patients that are non-compliant with the POC
  • Patient autonomy versus professional judgements
  • Seeing patients that are convicted felons
  • Lying on notes to benefit patients
  • Keeping commitments to patients

The course discusses situations where ethical principles decide. How do clinicians decide which principle takes precedent over the other? The answer is intuition.

Section 4

The last section of the course asks audience members to reflect on ethical dilemmas they have encountered in the past. Then clinicians are asked to determine whether the solutions were clear. One of the goals of the course is to show clinicians those ethical solutions are not clear. There are a multitude of possibilities on resolving dilemmas as every clinician’s intuition is their own. It is what differentiates this course from other courses on ethics for physical and occupational therapists. 

Other ethics courses for physical and occupational therapists involve the instructor lecturing the audience members on what is right and what is wrong. In Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs, I try to facilitate debate from audience members by asking though provoking questions. I admit that I don’t have the answers as no answers exist. I am a student of my audience members, waiting to hear their reasoning.

Conclusion

Check out Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs if you are looking for a fun and engaging take on a typically boring topic. The course also fulfills the ethics requirement for New Jersey physical therapists. It also fulfills ethics requirements for physical therapists and occupational therapists in many other states. I am confident that you will enjoy and gain from this CEU course on ethics for physical and occupational therapists. The reviews from previous webinars are:

“The best ethics course ever”

“AWESOME CLASS, THE BEST ETHICS CLASS I HAVE TAKEN IN THE PAST 20 YEARS BY FAR!!!”

“Thank you for your time, it was an interesting and thought-provoking course”

“You made a very boring topic interesting and enjoyable. Thank you so much!”

I am humbled by the responses to the course, but I am also proud that I have elicited such positive reviews. I look forward to reading your review on Let’s Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs.

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Let's Get Ethical: Ethical Boundaries for PTs/OTs

A 2.5 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – # 02517 

NY Board of Physical Therapy

The Ohio Physical Therapy Association # 21S2571

The NJ Board of PT # 2110-14

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS,

MT, NC, ND, NH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

due to recognition of approval from another state chapter of the APTA (Ohio PTA)

or another state board of PT (NY, NJ)

Objectives to facilitate clinician ethical practice

 

1. Define ethics and the Code of Ethics of the APTA/AOTA to practice in an ethical manner

2. Analyze the boundaries of ethical priniciples for PTs/OTs to solve ethical dilemmas

3. Apply APTA ethical principles to professional practice through case studies

4. Apply AOTA ethical principles to professional practice through case studies

A posttest/survey will be give after live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

Optimizing the Patient Experience

A 1 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02034

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Pending Approval by the NJ Board of PT – 2022 – 2024

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, NC, NE, NH, ND, NM, OR, SC, WA, WI

Objectives related to professional development

1) Identify the components of bedside manner/ patient satisfaction and their link to healthcare outcomes

2) Apply strategies using social psychology to optimize the patient experience

3) Implement an organizational approach to improve patient satisfaction scores

A posttest/survey will be given following live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing the on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

Improving Patient Adherence to Home Exercise Programs

 1 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02036

NY Board of Physical Therapy

The NJ Board of PT # 2111-80

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, NC, NE, NH, ND, NM, OR, SC, UT, WA, WI

Objectives to facilitate patient/client goal achievement

1. Identify the benefits of home exercise programs

2) Define differing theories of motivation/influence

3) Apply social psychology to HEP prescription/plan

A posttest/survey will be given following live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

The Science of Bedside Manner and Patient Satisfaction

A 2 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02037

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Ohio Physical Therapy Association # 21S2565

The NJ Board of PT # 2110-15

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS,

MT, NC, ND, NH, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

due to recognition of approval from another state chapter of the APTA (Ohio PTA)

or another state board of PT (NJ, NY)

Objectives to facilitate patient/client goal achievement

1. Develop and improve empathy skills

2. Identify the link between bedside manner/patient satisfaction and health outcomes

3. Measure patient satisfaction in a valid/reliable manner

4. Apply social psychology techniques to improve patient satisfaction

5) Integrate organizational strategies to improve patient satisfaction scores

A posttest/survey will be give after live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

Effective Leadership and Communication in Rehab

A 1 hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02299

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ CO, GA, IA, IL, KS, NC, NE, NH, ND, NM, OR, SC, WA, WI

Objectives related to professional development

 

1. Define leadership and various leadership styles

2. Identify successful leadership styles in healthcare/rehab

3. Implement effective leadership communication strategies in rehab

A posttest/survey will be given after live and on-demand webinars. After purchasing an on-demand webinar you will be redirected to a webpage with the webinar and posttest links. A CE certificate will be emailed following posttest completion

The New World of Rehab: Addressing Burnout

A 1-hour webinar approved for CEUs by the

AOTA – #02035

NY Board of Physical Therapy

Meets Requirements for PTs/PTAs in:

AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IA, IL, KS, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS,

MT, NC, ND, NH, OR, RI, SC, SD, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

due to recognition by another state board of PT (NY)

Objectives related to professional development

 

1. Identify the causes of rehab burnout

2. Recognize the signs of rehab burnout

3. Apply strategies to prevent/reduce rehab burnout

A posttest/survey will be given after live and on-demand webinars. After on-demand purchase you will be redirected to a webpage with the video link/posttest link. A CEU certificate will be emailed following post-test completion