Work Type



Fall 2018

Faculty Advisor

Holly Roberts, DPT, NCS, GCS




The purpose of this study was to examine the implications of direct access in a global health setting through the process of medical screening during physical therapy (PT) examinations in rural Guatemala. Six patients (5%) presented with signs and symptoms requiring follow-up medical care or when medical follow-up was unavailable, modification of physical therapy intervention. The role of physical therapists (PTs) in the delivery of health care is expanding. PTs practicing abroad must be prepared for the unique health needs of medically underserved populations. Additionally, as direct access to physical therapy services becomes increasingly common in the United States, clinicians will encounter patients who have not been screened by their primary care doctors for underlying medical conditions. PTs must screen for medical and psychological signs and symptoms to appropriately refer their patients for follow-up care. PTs have the training and skill set to make clinical decisions regarding the appropriate screening and management of patients presenting to PT clinics under direct access.


University of Puget Sound

Geographic Coverage

Guatemala, United States