“How could I apply this information?”
School-based physical therapy (PT) is provided in a complex and unique practice setting with limited opportunity for examining the effect of service delivery. This article offers the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of practice-based evidence (PBE) research methods as a strategy to answer research questions within a school-based setting. Readers can replicate PBE methods in their own school-based practice setting to answer the same, or similar, questions about the association between school-based PT and students' participation and outcomes. Although a large number of physical therapists and students were necessary to create a sample size that would allow for statistical estimation of results, the method can now be used on a smaller scale in states, school districts, or by individual physical therapists seeking guidance on the activities, interventions, and service approaches best associated with student outcomes. In addition, the article provides descriptions of how to use Goal Attainment Scaling, the School Function Assessment, and the School-Physical Therapy Interventions for Pediatrics as data collection tools and measures in school-based PT service delivery. As the PT COUNTS study is shared in future articles, PBE will be used to report conclusions regarding interventions and student outcomes, further demonstrating the applicability and strengths of this research method.
“What should I be mindful about when applying this information?”
Although the sample size was increased to allow for accurate validity and reliability and procedures were used to capture fidelity, the generalizability from the sample to a larger population across the United States remains questionable on the basis of variability in school-based PT practice. Because of bias associated with observational data collection, the associations between interventions and student outcomes will need to be interpreted with caution when the data are presented. The PBE described in this study was applied only to school-based PT. Use of the PBE design in other settings is possible but may require modification.
Mary Jane Rapport, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Philicia Kane, PT, DPT
Denver Public Schools