1902 – Safety and Liability Protection Protocols

Beginner / 1.5-hour Lecture


Faculty: Mary Wykle, PhD, ATRIC


COURSE DESCRIPTION: Anytime a patient is accepted for aquatic therapy, the therapist accepts the liability for the safety of that patient. The goal of this course strives to provide solutions to common questions asked by therapists. As the field of aquatic therapy grows, the quality of service and care must be commensurate with current professional guidelines. Aquatic therapy professionals accept the ethical and legal commitment to abide by a standard of care that reinforces basic water safety and risk management criteria for patients and practitioners. Awareness and prevention of potential emergency situations with appropriate response increases the safety of all involved. Examples include ideas on ways to handle therapists working alone, how to handle a seizure, and slips or falls on the pool steps or deck. Attendees are welcome to present a problem, and the goal is to offer solutions for specific situations. 


The discussion on safety and liability protection protocol presents basic knowledge of the risk and liability accepted when providing aquatic therapy and rehabilitation and solutions to minimize liability. Identification of potential risk areas such as the locker room and deck are crucial as the effect on patients physiologically, psychologically and emotionally extends to the locker room.



1)  Provide overview of the importance of safety in the aquatic environment.

2)  Explain and emphasize the implications of liability and negligence in aquatic therapy – ask attendees for problems and discuss solutions that can be applied to similar situations.

3)  Define solutions to amend current Emergency Action Plans (SOPs) to provide a safe, liability free setting for aquatic therapy.

4)  View video clips of assists that all working in aquatic therapy and rehab should be familiar with and able to do.


FACULTY: Mary O. Wykle, PhD, ATRIC, presents for ATRI and AEA. Course development includes aquatic re-conditioning programs for the Army and USMC. Additional programs include Aqua Pi-Yo-Chi™, Core Stabilization and Safety Training. Aquatic recognitions include: AEA Global Award for Lifetime Achievement (2010); ISHOF Adapted Aquatics Award (2007); ATRI Aquatic Professional of the Year (2006); ATRI Tsunami Spirit Award (2004) and ATRI Dolphin Award (2002).