When a patient walks in for physical therapy, one of the things they are sent home with is a home exercise program. These are needed for a number of reasons.
- Continuation of forward progression in rehabilitation: Physical and occupational therapists tailor each program to the abilities and strengths of each patient. A patient that completes their home exercise program is more likely to excel in the one-on-one sessions at the clinic and experience fewer setbacks in rehabilitation.
- Increases level of mobility and enduranc: Exercise in the home is designed to continue the progress of the clinic visit by increasing a patient’s flexibility and stamina. A good home exercise program allows a patient to increase function and improve muscle memory so that progress is gained rather than lost from one visit to another.
- For some patients, therapy doesn’t end at discharge: A home exercise program can help a patient remain pain free and functional without having to pay for repeat visits and costly medically bills. For patients experiencing chronic pain – a home exercise program is the ticket to staying out of the doctors office.
Despite the benefits of a home exercise program, patients have trouble following through on their home exercise program goals. We’re going to go over some of the more common excuses:
- I don’t have time, because life at home is too busy: It can be hard, especially for those running a household with multiple schedules to accommodate. However, a physical therapist can offer suggestions on working these into your schedule. Some exercises can be done at work, at home, on the playground. If time is truly a concern than don’t be afraid to let the therapist know.
- It hurts: Some pain is considered normal – it’s a normal part of exercise. However, if you are doing an exercise and something feels wrong, let your physical therapist know immediately. Don’t wait until your next appointment and tell yourself you will take care of it then. It could be something as simple as not doing the exercise correctly and they can talk you through it over the phone. Communication is a large part of rehabilitation and your therapist wants to know if something is causing concern.
- Not motivated: Not seeing the point of the exercises your therapist gave you – ask them why it is so beneficial. Going to see a physical therapist 2-3 times a week alone without doing home exercises will not be enough to maintain muscle strength and flexibility. Healthy habits begin with persistence. If you need motivation talk to your therapist, they are born motivators and want nothing more than to watch you succeed. Enlist the help of family or friends to keep asking about your progress.
From the physical therapist perspective it can be difficult to get a patient excited about a home exercise, but with new technology coming out, the simple drawings on paper with arrows showing the patient how to move will soon be a thing of the past. Online exercise programs, such as the one provided by i-HEP offer a web-based application that utilizes high quality, professionally produced video of exercises combined with an easy to use platform to prescribe home exercise programs to your patients and clientele. Some benefits of the i-hep program include:
- No wasting time thumbing through exercise cards to copy
- Videos of real people doing the prescribed exercises
- The ability to create your own private video library
- Ability to update a patient exercise program online at any time – no need to wait until the next appointment
- Patients have access to their own private and secure portal to view their home exercise program and receive updates and secure messaging.
i-HEP is currently offering a free trial to therapists and clinics that are interested. More information can be found here.