Springfield College and the American Physical Therapy Association of Massachusetts partnered to offer a free continuing education program and training on Physical Therapy and Pharmacologic Assisted Opioid Recovery on Saturday, July 14, 2018. The event took place at Fuller Arts Center Auditorium on the campus of Springfield College.
This training was the first time that physical therapists as a group have been targeted for training on how to manage unintentional opioid overdoses. The training was being done in response to an initiative by physical therapy educators in Massachusetts with the knowledge that physical therapists have a background and ability to work with patients whose primary problem is pain, a problem for which opioids are not the only solution. The training, specifically for PTs, PTAs, DPT students and PTA students, was conducted by End Mass Overdose.
“Substance abuse and addiction training is critical for professionals to provide adequate patient care and prevent unintentional opioid overdoses” said Julia Chevan, professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at Springfield College. “We are delighted to partner with APTA of Massachusetts to sponsor this first training for physical therapists, the principles behind the training are consistent with our approach to teaching all the future health professional students at the college.”
The training program included 3 elements of information critical to physical therapy that coincided with the 3 stages of addiction and overdose:
1. Prevention (pre-overdose)
2. Intervention (during overdose including naloxone training)
3. Treatment and recovery (post-overdose)
In addition, participants learned about the “Core Principles for the Education of Physical Therapy Professionals in the Context of the U.S. Opioid Emergency,” the document that was endorsed and adopted in 2018 by all eight Massachusetts colleges and universities that offer Doctorate in Physical Therapy programs.