The Monday Memo
July 2, 2018 PITT DPT STUDENTS
The APTA’s “Guiding Principles to Achieve the Vision” which supports the APTA’s “Vision Statement for Physical Therapy” highlights the importance of one of the many roles of physical therapists: promoters of health and wellness:
“Movement is a key to optimal living and quality of life for all people that extends beyond health to every person’s ability to participate in and contribute to society. The complex needs of society, such as those resulting from a sedentary lifestyle, beckon for the physical therapy profession to engage with consumers to reduce preventable health care costs and overcome barriers to participation in society to ensure the successful existence of society far into the future.”
As much as treating impairments is a duty of physical therapists, such is contributing to society by encouraging active lifestyles. Having these conversations (not lectures) with patients contributes to the overall health of our patients but also, as we know, helps to reduce health care costs in the long term. Every patient will reach the end of their journey with physical therapy, and will no longer have a skilled need. It would be easy to say goodbye and never worry about those patients again. However, it is our responsibility to educate our patients on the importance of activity outside of a therapeutic realm.
We have the luxury of getting to know our patients on a more personal level, learning their interests and lifestyles. With the combination of knowledge of the individual and knowledge of the surrounding community, we can become excellent auxiliaries and resources. With an individualized approach, we can urge the use and importance of local community resources. This can be as simple as providing information about nearby parks, upcoming city events such as walks or races, or local gym facilities. There are often facilities or local gyms that have adaptive programs for both children and adults.
Often, physical therapists can be the primary source of information to help patients become more aware of their local communities and the opportunities it presents. Not only should this be a conversation at discharge, but an educational component throughout the entire course of treatment. Emerge yourself in the community and encourage your patients to do so as well!