Well… It’s not actual physical therapy that’s the problem. The real problem is the way our healthcare system was designed.
The healthcare system is designed in a way that will return a patient to normal function with little to no follow up to prevent the event from recurring, which costs the system even greater amounts of money. That should not be confused. Many healthcare professionals will provide resources for the patient to continue learning and progressing towards greater health. Unfortunately, this is not enough to encourage the patient.
One of the most prominent examples is the cyclical process within physical therapy. The cyclical process occurs in two ways. The first, the patient understands how the process works and takes advantage of the system. For example, some realize they can receive physical therapy for a period of time. If there is a gap in service after initial treatment they may be able to start again. Following the period without service, they will request another prescription from their physician. Is there a true medical necessity there? That’s up for discussion among the therapy providers.
The other way in which the cyclical process occurs is treating a patient numerous times for a chronic condition. The two most common relate to lower back pain or a fall. More often than not a patient will be treated for lower back pain with great success. The chronic pain is preventable, yet our healthcare system will not allow for continued service. The other, a fall, is also somewhat preventable. External factors do not allow for a fall to be 100% preventable. Again, physical therapists create the stability to increase spatial awareness to drastically reduce such falls. But, where is the continued service?
Again, the problem resides in the fact that patients are not provided enough opportunity to remain healthy. The patient themselves must take it into their own hands should they wish to prevent this cyclical cycle.
Patient after patient is put onto this never ending process. This cycle promotes periods of greater health followed by steeper and steeper declines. In the illustration below simply replace fall with lower back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, etc. The process is remains the same.
True patient success is carried out by a myriad of professionals. A collaborative approach that creates unity among various healthcare providers is essential to the patients’ health. With regard to simple health and well-being, those discharged from physical therapy need an option to continue with their progress. This is where we step in, helping the patient and healthcare spending bottom line. The continuum of care allows for private exercise to start immediately after discharge, which prevents the decline typically seen in the gaps of service between therapy treatment.
Think of it this way, physical therapy helps to regain normal function. Beyond that if we can implement various services we move past normal function into optimal functioning. Private exercise is just one of the many options of service that can be implemented. The continuum of care is truly an option for those who want to live happier and healthier.