In October, physical therapists across the country will be commemorating this year’s 30th annual National Physical Therapy Month.
It’s a time when PTs, physical therapist assistants and those who work within the profession both celebrate and spotlight the impact they have (and can have) on the lives of people within their communities.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has designated this year’s theme as “Choose to Move” to symbolize how you as physical therapists improve lives as movement experts within the medical field.
From a reduction in pain with the minimal use of prescription medication to active aging, injury recovery and enhanced athletic performance, physical therapists like you play an essential role in the overall wellness and enjoyment of life.
But as we all know, PTs don’t enable a happy, healthy life in the month of October alone. You have the ability to embody the spirit of National Physical Therapy Month year-round. How?
Here are five ways you and your practice can embrace the spirit of National Physical Therapy Month not just in October, but throughout the entire year.
1. Celebrate (and Publicize) Patient Successes
National Physical Therapy Month is meant to highlight the importance of physical activity along with the crucial role physical therapists and therapist assistants play in helping to get patients moving. What better way to mark the occasion than by sharing patient success stories?
Well beyond October, physical therapy clinics and practitioners can empower patients and PTs alike by scheduling in-house celebrations of functional improvement in rehab therapy patients. For instance, providers can plan internal Functional Outcomes Fridays for a recurring spotlight on patient success.
Likewise, providers can keep the celebration going by posting patient success stories online. Consider outlets like social media, email newsletters, website testimonials, blog posts, and even the occasional story in the local press to publicize notable patient wins.
2. Offer Educational and Exercise Workshops
A lack of physical activity contributes an additional $117 billion to annual health care costs and leads to a reduced quality of life for millions of Americans each year.1
To raise awareness of the significance of physical activity – along with the important work physical therapist do to encourage and optimize movement – offer educational and/or exercise-based workshops on a regular basis.
Group, in-person and online workshops provide wonderful opportunities to continually educate community members on the power of physical therapy in the treatment of multiple ailments, from poor balance and flexibility to bone strength.
Educational courses on strength training and healthy eating can also be combined with exercise classes to reinforce the National Physical Therapy Month message of “Choose to Move” year-round.
Movement and exercise-based workshops encourage participants to live healthier, more agile lives. They also pose an opportunity to connect with community members so they can get to know you and your PT staff as well as your services.
3. Forge Local Community Partnerships
One of the most impactful ways to engrain National Physical Therapy Month celebrations into daily operations is by developing community partners.
In particular, rehab therapy providers should strive to connect with local senior centers, sports clubs, employers and schools.
At a time when only one in four adults and one in six high school students adequately meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, such outreach efforts provide tremendous community service for populations that need it most.2
Community partnerships can take several forms over the course of the year, including:
- Group balance and flexibility sessions for seniors
- Complimentary injury assessments for local sports clubs
- Functional evaluations and ergonomic assessments to help employers maintain a healthy workforce
- Healthy eating and hydration courses for students
- Family or all-ages-welcome yoga workshops
4. Support an Active Social Media Presence
Realistically, it can be near impossible to educate your community on the power of physical therapy and movement without sharing your expertise with local audiences.
And while you all know social media is there and available as a valuable conduit to your community, are you making use of these tools consistently and effectively?
One of the best, most affordable and effective ways to share your expertise with your community is by remaining active on your social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and LinkedIn, for instance – as well as on your blog and website.
Share any content you create on upcoming community programs, educational workshops, or even patient success stories with your online audience. Not only can an active social media presence drive awareness of your services, but it can also enhance patient engagement across the board.
5. Stay in Touch with Past Patients
Private practice physical therapists strive to create patients for life, not patients for a few weeks. As such, it’s essential to provide patients with an exceptional experience, one that’s complete with the appropriate level of care and engagement to ensure patients return for future needs.
A simple way to guarantee lifelong patients is to keep an open flow of communication with them.
Use National Physical Therapy Month as a segue to deliver an email newsletter to previous clients, and include a message to opt-in to receive regular updates.
On one hand, routine communication allows past patients to remain educated on all of the ways physical therapy can enhance health and wellness. On the other hand, this communication enables you as PTs to remain top-of-mind for patients, even after their plans of care are complete.
Make Every Month Physical Therapy Month
Physical activity is a vital component of a healthy life not just today, but every day. So why only celebrate the benefits of physical activity and the men and women who administer rehab therapy for a few weeks out of the year?
Make every month National Physical Therapy Month with workflows that encourage movement among your patients and the local community.
Net Health Patient Engagement Suite, for example, is a comprehensive solution that enables physical therapists to showcase and enhance the value they provide patients while maintaining personalized levels of communication to provide insight, encouragement and tips for at-home care and exercise between visits.
Now is the time to help encourage movement in your local community. Schedule a demo today to learn how Net Health can provide the resources that allow you to focus more time on patients, enabling them to better manage pain, recover from injuries and reduce the risk of future ailments.
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1, 2 Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “Why Should People be Active?” July 14, 2022.