This course is pre-requisite for the Aquatic Physical Therapy Clinical Competency Certificate.

The primary goal of this course is to assist the physical therapist in using a critical-thinking approach to making evidence-based clinical decisions in the aquatic treatment environment. A multifactorial approach to balancing risks and benefits of aquatic physical therapy are applied to specific patient scenarios for discussion and problem solving. The role of the physical therapist assistant (PTA) in assessment and decision-making also will be explored.

Frequently Asked Questions

Meet our Presenters

Holly Lookabaugh-Deur, PT, DSc, GCS, CEEAA is a practicing physical therapist and private practice owner in the West Michigan area With 38 years of patient care experience, Lookabaugh-Deur was educated at the University of Connecticut (BS),  Grand Valley State University (MHS) and Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (DSc) with a focus in geriatrics.  Her career has spanned acute and long term care, as well as education as a PTA Program Director and Dean of Health and Human Services, as well as researcher working with the Michigan Dept. of Community Health.  A Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist, Lookabaugh-Deur owns and operates two clinics with aquatic programs, and she teaches Aquatic Physical Therapy for Central Michigan University’s Physical Therapy program.  Holly currently serves on the Board of Directors for the MPTA, and has been an author of a Geriatrics Self Study entitled “The Aging Skeleton:  the Lower Quarter.” She is a certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults.

Emily Dunlap, PT graduated from Simmons College with a BS in Physical Therapy in 1988.  She has been active with the Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy (formerly, Aquatic Physical Therapy Section) of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) almost since its inception and has held multiple offices, most recently as Chairperson and Instructor of the APTA sponsored Certificate in Aquatic Physical Therapy Clinical Competency (CAPTCC) Program. Emily has authored chapters in 3 Aquatic Therapy related textbooks and is a national speaker on various aquatic physical therapy topics.   She currently works at Central Texas Rehabilitation (inpatient rehab) developing their aquatic therapy program in addition to aquatic physical therapy consulting.  She has recently published original research on the topic of waterproof dressing usage in aquatic therapy settings.  She is currently working on more research of the same topic as well as a systematic review on Ai Chi effects on pain, balance, function and quality of life in adults.

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Completion Instructions

To successfully complete this course, you must open and review all lessons and resources in the course. Once you have progressed through the course lessons and resources, you must take an assessment of learning. You are required to complete the assessment with at least 70% accuracy in order to claim CEU credit. You may retake the assessment as many times as you like.

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Holly Lookabaugh-Deur, PT, DSc, GCS; Emily Dunlap, PT

Learning objectives

Following completion of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Identify indications and contraindications for aquatic physical therapy
  2. Compare and contrast risk and benefits of aquatic physical therapy, including costs, staffing, and operational considerations
  3. Increase awareness of current research that supports the use of aquatic intervention with various patient scenarios
  4. Utilize a risk vs. benefit approach for determining which patients may benefit from aquatic physical therapy as a component of a comprehensive plan of care
  5. Relate Critical Thinking to evidence base practice to support medical necessity for aquatic physical therapy
  6. Apply risk- benefit analysis method to four patient case studies, each with unique aquatic considerations


Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy

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2Assessment_Critical Thinking
Type:E-Learning Course
Credit Categories
Domains:Emily Dunlap, Holly Lookabaugh-Deur, aquatics, critical thinking