The Role Of Emergency Department Physiotherapists And The United Kingdom

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History
Physiotherapists were first able to serve as primary contact providers in Australia in 1976 with the lifting of the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s ethical principle stating “It is unethical for a member to act in a professional capacity except on referral by a registered medical or dental practitioner”. [1, pg 217] Although the change met much debate, the United Kingdom followed suit in 1978. [1] This legislation had yet to pass in all 50 American states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands until July 1, 2014. [2]
Primary contact physiotherapists first arrived in emergency departments in the United Kingdom, with the role quickly expanding to Australia. [3, 4] The profession has continued to expand and evolve to better service in Emergency Departments. [3, 5, 4] Many studies have been performed regarding the roles of Emergency Department physiotherapists in both Australia and the United Kingdom, the data of which will be reviewed. However, with the implementation running behind in the United States, there are few studies pertaining to physiotherapists in American Emergency Departments.
Definition
Physiotherapists in the ED are identified by many different titles both in the United Kingdom and Australia. In the United Kingdom they may go by Emergency Department Physiotherapy Practitioners (EDPPs) [6], Extended Scope Physiotherapist (ESP) [7], or A&E Physiotherapy Practitioners [8]. In Australia physiotherapists may hold the title of Emergency
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