Differential Diagnosis in PT, P-02: Client History and Screening Interview


Evidence-based clinical decision-making consistent with the patient/client management model will be the foundation upon which a physical therapy differential diagnosis is made. The physical therapy diagnosis begins with a screening component. In turn, screening for systemic disease begins with a well-developed client history and interview. The foundation for these skills is presented in this course.

The client interview, including the personal and family history, is the single most important tool in screening for systemic disease.

Restated for emphasis: The client interview as it is presented here is the first step in the screening process. Risk factor assessment and health screening are also included, as these are becoming a more integral part of the physical therapist’s practice in the primary care setting.

A large part of the screening process is identifying red flag histories and red flag signs and symptoms. Many clients are experiencing signs and symptoms associated with visceral impairment but don’t make the connection between these signs and symptoms and their NMS dysfunction. The therapist must be well-versed in what questions to ask in order to obtain this information.

Upon completion of this course, the Learner will be able to:

  • Identify 3 keys of the client history identified the management assessment tool, learner will analysis to apply clinical judgment to the client’s POC determining PT intervention.
  • Identify key red flag signs, symptoms “clusters” necessary for physical therapy intervention that are formulated in the pts. POC.
  • Identify 3 medical/pharmaceutical conditions requiring medical referral
  • Identify the 3 questions to ask to screen for assault and substance use/abuse, apply to the screening & planning tool specific for patient.
  • Identify 5 vital signs necessary to assess in the screening process.