Ep. 122 – Nail your OncoPT assessments every time

Oncology PT is rarely like outpatient orthopedic PT.  Pts often aren’t seen for 2-3x/week for 6 weeks & discharged.  Some are, but the vast majority don’t fit into this neat box.  In fact, they may need months of skilled PT services & ongoing check-ups, depending on their functional mobility impairments.  So how do we make sure our patients get the appropriate care they need?  Rock solid, star assessments that demonstrate exactly what they need & how you are going to provide these services.  

Without these assessments, we are not showing our worth to referring providers, third-party payors, & others who need to know.  These assessments & then subsequent skilled PT services that result in improvements or maintenance of function show exactly how we are positively affecting these patients.  There are many ways to write a great assessment; there’s also some really bad assessments out there.  Finding your own way to write a star assessment is critical.  It can be easy to get lost in a rabbit hole chasing the perfect assessment, so I’ve created my formula that you can copy & paste into your evaluations to nail it each & every time.

Pt is a 35 y/o female referred to PT for balance & neuropathy problems, secondary to undergoing AC/T chemotherapy for her Stage III breast cancer.  She demonstrates impaired balance, decreased overall strength, & complaints of neuropathy in her hands & feet, leading to difficulty mowing her yard, playing with her children, running for exercise, & doing yoga.  Pt will benefit from skilled PT services to address the aforementioned impairments & improve her ability to participate in a community exercise program for long-term wellness.  Pt verbalized good understanding of today’s eval findings, benefits of physical activity for long-term wellness after a cancer diagnosis, potential chronic side effects of chemotherapy, & to call with questions or concerns.  Pt was provided with a basic standing balance program for HEP, verbalized understanding of safe home performance to reduce fall risk.  

Intro.  Problem sentence.  Benefits/limiters/facilitators.  Patient response.    

Let’s do another one:

Pt demonstrates moderate RUE swelling, palpable cording in R axilla, complaints of R upper quarter pain, leading to difficulty independently managing his chronic lymphedema condition, reaching upper kitchen cabinets, & participating in woodworking hobby.  Pt will benefit from skilled PT services to address the aforementioned impairments & to reduce risk of lymphedema-related infection.  Pt may be limited by chronicity of impairments & progressive nature of lymphedema but is highly motivated to improve functional mobility & has supportive family members.  Pt verbalized good understanding of today’s eval findings, decongestive exercise HEP, & to call with questions or concerns.  

Intro.  Problem sentence.  Benefits/limiters/facilitators.  Patient response.    

With these four pieces to your assessment formula, you’re sure to be writing star assessments in no time.  So for your action step, think of a patient you’ve seen recently.  Use my formula to create your own star assessment.  After you’re done, you can use this as a template for your evaluations.  


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