Healthcare Insider Blog

3 tips Doctor of Physical Therapy students can use to keep patients motivated

  • Healthcare Alvernia

Doctor of Physical Therapy student

In any healing and rehabilitation profession, the key to a patient’s recovery lies in their motivation. Though pain is the number one motivator that brings patients to see a physical therapist, it is also a trend that when patients begin to see improvement, the motivation to attend appointments or do their exercises at home also decreases.

Here are 3 tips for improving the motivation in your patients:

Earn their trust

When you begin working with a patient and establishing a treatment plan, you are asking them to follow your advisement — to make a commitment. In order to do this, you must have their trust. If your patient respects your professional opinion, they will be more encouraged to follow your advice.

Set achievable goals

We’ve all heard the saying, “you have to learn to walk before you can run”. This rings especially true in physical therapy (both literally and figuratively). In her book Wellness and Physical Therapy, Dr. Sharon Elayne Fair stresses the importance of setting short-term goals for patients, making it simple for them to measure their progress and giving them the endurance to reach greater goals as time goes on.

Stay positive

Researchers have found that emotions, both positive and negative can be contagious. Whether or not your patients are progressing the way you would like them to, continue to offer hope and show them that you believe in them and their ability to meet their goals. If you give up, so will they.

Apart from these tips, Doctor of Physical Therapy students can also learn these skills from Alvernia courses such as DPT 501: Development Through the Lifespan, which covers many foundational skills for treating patients in every stage of life, including realistic goal-setting for clients. Students can also learn motivational theories and different learning styles of patients in courses like DPT 505: Education and Communication in Physical Therapy.

Effective November 12, 2014, Alvernia University has been granted Candidate for Accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314; phone: 703-706-3245; email: accreditation@apta.org). Candidacy is not an accreditation status nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Candidate for Accreditation is a pre-accreditation status of affiliation with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education that indicates the program is progressing toward accreditation.

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