Course Number and Title: PTA 102 Modalities
This course introduces the theory and skill development in modalities, electrical stimulation, pain management, and wound care. This course includes didactic, laboratory, and clinical experiences.
Provided by Instructor
- Use professional behaviors in the classroom and clinic settings. (CCC 3, 4; PGC 6)
- Describe and discuss normal tissue response to injury. (CCC 2; PGC 3, 5)
- Appraise aspects of pain as it relates to physical therapy. (CCC 2; PGC 3, 5)
- Describe the physiological response to heat and cold. (CCC 2; PGC 3, 5)
- Demonstrate competence in the application of physical therapy modalities. (CCC 2; PGC 2, 3, 5)
- Discuss the role of physical therapy in treatment of peripheral vascular diseases. (CCC 2, PGC 3, 5)
- Examine the role of physical therapy in wound care. (CCC 2; PGC 3, 5)
- Apply learned skills of modalities used in a physical therapy clinical setting. (CCC 1, 2, 3; PGC 1,2,3,5)
See Core Curriculum Competencies and Program Graduate Competencies at the end of the syllabus. CCPOs are linked to every competency they develop.
Upon completion of this course, the student will:
- Use professional behaviors in the classroom and clinic settings.
- Comply with beginning and developing level professional behaviors consistent with a professional behaviors tool. These include but are not limited to adhering to designated times for each educational experience, following a dress code, being adequately prepared, participating in class discussions, following laboratory and safety rules using appropriate interpersonal dynamics, and communication skills.
- Perform and identify research findings in the professional literature.
- Evaluate literature using specific criteria.
- Discuss the concept of evidence-based practice, and exhibit openness to contradictory ideas related to professional practice.
- Describe and discuss normal tissue response to injury.
- Describe clinical signs and characteristics of the stages of tissue repair.
- Describe clinical signs and characteristics of the stages of wound healing.
- Recognize appropriate physical therapy interventions for the different stages of tissue repair.
- Discuss factors that influence wound healing.
- Appraise aspects of pain as it relates to physical therapy.
- Define and discuss pain and the terms: acute, chronic, referred, and radicular.
- Discuss the physiological and psychological basis for pain.
- Summarize theories of pain control.
- Explain the pain-spasm-pain cycle that occurs in a skeletal muscle.
- Select appropriate techniques used to assess and document pain.
- Chart pain behaviors and reactions, and recognize the need for outside consultation.
- Describe the physiological response to heat and cold.
- Define the methods of heat transmission.
- Identify indications, contraindications, and precautions for heat and cold application.
- Describe normal and abnormal responses to heat and cold application.
- Recognize absent or altered sensation and the implication for use with heat and cold.
- Demonstrate competence in the application of physical therapy modalities.
- Identify safety issues regarding the use of modalities, and adhere to safety practices in the lab.
- Recognize observable responses to physical therapy modalities, including normal and abnormal integumentary changes.
- Recognize when intervention should not be provided due to changes in patient status and actively seek assistance from the supervising physical therapist when treating various conditions.
- Practice thorough, accurate, logical, concise, timely, and legible documentation using the subjective, objective, assessment, plan (SOAP) note format for patients receiving therapeutic modalities.
- Spinal Traction (ST) : Describe the effects of cervical and pelvic traction.
- ST: Identify indications and contraindications for cervical and pelvic traction.
- ST: Safely and effectively set up cervical and pelvic traction within the physical therapist’s plan of care.
- ST: Provide a treatment rationale to patients and caregivers on the use of traction in selected conditions.
- ST: Assess patients’ response to traction and identify appropriate modifications within the plan of care.
- Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) Describe treatment goals for CPM.
- CPM: Identify indications and contraindications for CPM.
- CPM: Recognize proper clinical application of CPM.
- Electrotherapeutic Modalities (EM) Describe the physiological effects of electrical stimulation.
- EM: Identify indications and contraindications for electrical stimulation.
- EM: Provide a treatment rationale to patients and caregivers on the use of electrical stimulation in selected conditions.
- EM: Safely and effectively set up electrical stimulation within a plan of care established by a physical therapist including but not limited to:
- High voltage pulsed current
- Interferential current
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
- Neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES)
- Describe the clinical uses of:
- Functional electrical stimulation (FES)
- Low volt
- Ultrasound/electrical stimulation combination
- Monitor others in the use of appropriate electrical stimulation modalities for home use.
- Monitor patients’ response to electrical stimulation and identify appropriate modifications within the plan of care.
- Thermal Agents (TA) Describe the physiological effects of thermal agents.
- TA: Identify indications and contraindications for thermal agents.
- TA: Practice providing a treatment rationale to patients and caregivers on the use of thermal agents in selected conditions.
- TA: Safely and effectively set up thermal modalities within a plan of care established by a physical therapist, including but not limited to:
- Hot packs
- Cold packs
- Cold bath
- Ice massage
- Ultrasound (pulsed and continuous)
- Practice assessing the patients’ response to thermal agents and identify appropriate modifications within the plan of care.
- Describe indications, contraindications, and purpose for the following modalities:
- Hyperbaric oxygen
- Discuss the role of physical therapy in treatment of peripheral vascular diseases.
- Define the peripheral vascular system.
- Describe the clinical picture of the following pathologies:
- Thromboangitis Obliterans
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Chronic Venous Insufficiency
- Varicose Veins
- Explain physical therapy interventions in the management of edema including elevation, thermal agents, massage, exercise, wrapping, and mechanical compression.
- Discuss the indications, contraindications, and application of intermittent pneumatic compression.
- Examine the role of physical therapy in wound care.
- Distinguish between the different types of wounds commonly treated in physical therapy including pressure ulcers, stasis ulcers, diabetic ulcers, burns, lacerations, and surgical wounds.
- Define pressure ulcer, and explain the differences seen in the stages of pressure ulcers.
- Describe the different degrees of burns based on tissue involvement and the rule of nines.
- Identify the indications for the use of modalities for wound care based on the following wounds: burns, pressure ulcers, lacerations, surgical wounds, arterial insufficiency, venous insufficiency, and diabetic ulcers.
- Discuss the role of physical therapy and appropriate use of modalities (ultrasound, electrical stimulation, pulsatile lavage, and whirlpool) in treatment of wounds.
- Identify the common dressings and medications used in physical therapy for wound care.
- Identify current medical treatment techniques used on patients with burn injuries.
- Identify appropriate methods of application and removal of dressings.
- Provide proper documentation regarding wound contraction, drainage, location, odor, shape, size, and depth.
- Recognize activities, positioning and postures that aggravate the wound or scar, or can produce additional trauma.
- Identify appropriate infection control measures, including hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting equipment, and using sterile or clean technique.
- Identify purpose, indications, contraindications, and methods for wound debridement, and give examples of viable versus non-viable tissue.
- Practice the ability to perform wound care management, including but not limited to measurement and different dressings.
- Apply learned skills of modalities used in a physical therapy clinical setting.
- Demonstrate appropriate rationale to a clinical instructor for clinical use of physical agent modalities and basic techniques.
- Practice the application of physical agent modalities in a safe and effective manner under the supervision of a clinical instructor.
- Describe the clinical experience and perform a self-assessment of knowledge and skills.
- Integrate previous classroom and laboratory knowledge and competency testing skills during mobility capacity testing.
Students must demonstrate proficiency on all CCPOs at a minimal 75 percent level to successfully complete the course. The grade will be determined using the Delaware Tech grading system:
Students should refer to the Student Handbook for information on the Academic Standing Policy, the Academic Integrity Policy, Student Rights and Responsibilities, and other policies relevant to their academic progress.
Calculated using the following weighted average
Percentage of final grade
2 – 3 Didactic Exams (summative)
Psychomotor Assessment (summative)
Owens: 4 competencies equally weighted
Wilmington: 2 competencies equally weighted and Final Practical
Clinical Grade (summative)
Journal Review/Report (summative)
Quiz/Skill Checks/Lab Assignments (formative)
Generic Abilities Tool for Professional Behaviors (summative)
- Apply clear and effective communication skills.
- Use critical thinking to solve problems.
- Collaborate to achieve a common goal.
- Demonstrate professional and ethical conduct.
- Use information literacy for effective vocational and/or academic research.
- Apply quantitative reasoning and/or scientific inquiry to solve practical problems.
- Work under the supervision of a physical therapist in an ethical, legal, safe and effective manner.
- Implement PT interventions within the plan of care.
- Perform specific data collection techniques related to the plan of care.
- Demonstrate effective communication in the physical therapy environment.
- Formulate appropriate judgments and modification to the program within the patient’s plan of care.
- Demonstrate effective interactions and professional behaviors.
- Participate in career development activities.
- Exhibit a commitment to the physical therapy profession, physical therapy patients, and the community.
The College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. Students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with the campus Disabilities Support Counselor to request an accommodation needed due to a disability. A listing of campus Disabilities Support Counselors and contact information can be found at the disabilities services web page or visit the campus Advising Center.