As most therapists know, the things patients do in a clinic is only half of what they need for recovery. Proper at-home exercises are often the key to success, and so the quickest recoveries require a well thought-out plan and lots of cooperation.
Unfortunately, many patients fall off the bandwagon with their exercises. 65% of physiotherapy patients lack adherence to their prescribed home exercise programs.
A famous study explored factors such as time consumption of the exercises, exercise complexity, effects of the exercise, and the care provider’s style at delivering explanations of the exercises as factors in patient participation. Here are some of their key findings:
1. Patients were more likely to do the prescribed exercises when there was a justifiable explanation for why they should do them. Explaining why they should strengthen or stretch out a certain muscle group or how it pertains to their injury can provide motivation and incentive for the patient to complete their exercises.
3. There was less adherence to an exercise program when there was a large time commitment and when the exercise was too complex. Simplifying exercises and adjusting the program throughout treatment can counteract these issues.
Today, practitioners can even use modern technology to simplify the exercise prescription process. Therapists can provide patients with prescribed exercises via email, videos, images, print, and track sheets, eliminating any real complexity for the patients. Therapists can create their own programs tailored to fit each client’s individual needs.
4. Adherence to a home exercise program is more likely when patients have a way to track their exercises. Exercise track sheets offer a simple and convenient method to record and account for exercises completed. With a more concrete goal, patients feel more driven to follow their outlined regiment.
The process of prescribing at-home exercises does not have to be difficult. Online applications can complement manual therapists’ treatment plans help keep clients on track. As a professional manual therapist, it is important to explain to patients the reasoning behind exercise prescriptions throughout their treatment plan. Be sure to progress the exercises and take off any that have already been bumped up a level. Keep it simple for your patients. Start small. Explain the fundamentals. Given the correct tools and information, patients are more likely to adhere to their prescribed exercise program. No more excuses!