The Monday Memo
February 2, 2017 PITT DPT STUDENTS
Optimal Care vs. Acceptable Care
If you’re a clinician, you probably want to provide your patients with the absolute best possible care in order to help them regain control over their bodies and lives. This is exactly why the research arm of the physical therapy profession exists — to bring us the most relevant evidence that will help guide our treatment and equip us with the most effective therapeutic strategies to reach our goals. In an ideal world, every method we use would be backed with Grade-A research, but is this always possible?
Oftentimes, a skilled therapist has devised a comprehensive plan for their patient that has been guided by the initial evaluation. It’s inevitable that we will encounter resistance from our patients, either as a result of their busy lives or from their preconceived notions. There are more than a few barriers that may prevent us from giving our patients what can be considered “optimal care,” including jam-packed work schedules, varying patient values, lack of equipment, and more. The challenge for us is to consider how we can navigate these barriers and adjust our plan in order to provide the patient with the most effective strategies available at the time.
An expert clinician must be able to skillfully develop alternative therapeutic exercise options, educate the patient to help change or guide their beliefs, and create a therapeutic environment where the patient feels comfortable and cared for. No two patients will present the same, so you must equip yourself with the skills to manage a variety of personalities and belief systems. This is your challenge as a therapist — How well can you adjust on the fly and deviate from your plan, while still providing care that will improve the status of your patient?
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