Utilising Patient Self-Management in Physiotherapy

As a physiotherapy practice owner, you are responsible to your patients to ensure they receive the best care and treatment. In the same vein, however, you should work towards your patients having a level of accountability regarding their recovery. Once your patient’s appointment is over, they should be fully equipped with the knowledge and tools to work on their prescribed programs outside your clinic’s four walls.

Education and technology can play a part in assisting your patients towards achieving their recovery goals. Your practice management software may include specific integrations, such as exercise prescription platforms, that enable you to demonstrate via video how your patient’s exercise program will look, ensuring they know the correct techniques and feel comfortable carrying out their exercises in the comfort of their home.

Educate Your Patients

Educating your patients is critical to do during their appointment so that they know precisely what their treatment plan looks like and how long their recovery will be.

Your software should come with various integrations to generate treatment plans to prescribe to your patients. You can review the different exercise videos with your patients during their booking to ensure they fully understand the requirements and are comfortable with what is expected of them.

Here are six benefits why you should educate your patients to enable a timely recovery:

1. Active participation – Education can help your patients feel in control and fully informed. A complete understanding of self-care instructions and methods could assist them in achieving their goals faster.

2. Compliance – Educated patients will be far more likely to comply with their exercise programs because they are comfortable and understand the importance of following their individualised program.

3. Pain management – If you have taught your patient their program, they should know what not to do and when to stop. They must know precisely what the exercise feels like when actioned and learn how to advise you of any discomfort.

4. Prevent further injury -This is particularly relevant if your patient has physiotherapy treatment due to an injury. As the saying goes, “knowledge is power”, and if your patient has an insight into not what to do or how to prevent it from happening again, they may be able to prevent it from reoccurring.

5. Self-management – Your patients should take some responsibility for their recovery where it is age-appropriate.

6. Communication – Patients may be able to use their exercise prescription platform to record messages/notes in real-time so that you are aware of their progress and can adjust their program as and when necessary.

Realistic Goals Matter

During a patient appointment, discussing how to manage a treatment plan for your patient to reach a full recovery will inevitably arise.

During this time, you must be as transparent and honest as possible regarding your patient’s recovery process. If you overpromise, you will only set your patients up for disappointment, making them less likely to trust you.

By setting realistic goals with your patients, you can achieve the following:

• Enhanced patient motivation and encouragement.
• Improved adherence to their exercise program.
• An increased level of trust between yourself and your patients.
• Better long-term outcomes for your patients.

Remember, setting realistic goals should be a collaborative process, taking into account your patient’s circumstances, abilities, and preferences. It is important to regularly reassess and adjust these goals as the patient progresses to ensure continued motivation and success.

Tailoring Treatment Plans

The significance of personalised treatment plans for your patients should not be underestimated. You and your patient will need to take the time to evaluate their personal circumstances, preferences and lifestyle.

Constructing individualised plans with your patients ensures that they can take some ownership and gain some control over managing their condition and recovery. As mentioned above, this will help motivate your clients to carry out their exercise programs and ensure they are on the quickest route to recovery.

Developing personal treatment plans for your patients could be assisted using integrations that your practice management software offers. Various exercise prescription platforms, for instance, via your software, enable you to effectively and efficiently create a suitable plan to ensure they stay on track.

3 reasons to consider using an exercise prescription integrations for your patients:

1. You can effectively monitor your patient’s progression.

2. During appointments, you can view the demonstration videos together to ensure your patients completely understand what is expected.

3. Using exercise prescription platforms, your patients can advise you of any complications or queries they may have regarding their program, allowing you to solve any concerns as soon as possible.

Technology and Digital Tools

Patient-self management can be further enhanced by leveraging technology beyond the confines of your practice management software. Here are a few ways technologies, such as wearable devices like smartwatches, could contribute to this:

• Monitoring – Wearable technology allows your patients to track and monitor their health metrics in real- time, helping them to gain valuable insights into their progress and well-being.

• Personalised Health data – Technology can measure heart rates, sleep patterns, and daily physical activity outside of their physiotherapy-prescribed exercises.

• Reminders and Alerts – Patients can set reminders and alerts to ensure that they keep track of their programs and do not miss a day, which could hinder their recovery. They may also use the technology to set up reminders for their upcoming appointments.

Final Thoughts

Your physiotherapy software should support you in empowering your patients to participate in their recovery and well-being, actively can lead to better outcomes and increased patient satisfaction.

In conclusion, patient self-management in physiotherapy is critical to patient-centred care. By actively involving your patients in their treatment and providing them with the necessary tools and support, your physiotherapy clinic can promote better outcomes and empower them to control their health.

With patient self-management comes a level of responsibility for you to recognise the individuality of each of your patients and to ensure you provide ongoing support.