Healthcare Insider Blog

How to improve the relationship between patient and DPT

  • Healthcare Alvernia

Throughout their doctor of physical therapy career, students become experienced in the many facets of patient care. Though much time could be spent focusing on the technical side of things — new practices and procedures, research and advancements — today we will focus on the interpersonal aspect of the profession: the patient-provider relationship.

Ann Wendel, Physical Therapist, consultant and Director of Brand Marketing for Strive Labs, shares that one of the keys to patient outcomes is patient engagement and involvement, which comes from listening well and fully understanding your patients needs.

“We need to stop assuming that we know what patients want and need, and we must involve the patient in their care from the onset, explains Wendel. “When we involve patients from the beginning, we get a better understanding of the problems they have, and a much better chance at solving those problems.”

Mike Reinold, physical therapist, president and co-founder of Champion Physical Therapy and Performance also shares some insight to this topic in an article from his award-winning PT blog.

Reinold uses his experience in the field and collective insight from patients over the years to offer “things you do that your clients hate”.

Here are a few of the things physical therapists may do that bother patients:

  1. Not listen. It is true that sometimes evaluations and getting down to the issue could be a quick and easy process, however it’s important to let your patient talk and tell you what they want to share with you about their health concerns, goals and more. It will help your provider-patient relationship in the long run.
  1. Talk over patients’ heads. Communication and people skills are an important part of the physical therapy profession. Use dialogue that your patient understands and will help them connect, making them feel more secure and educated about the therapy process and what they are embarking on.
  1. Focus on the bad rather than the good. It’s good to pinpoint areas we must focus on improving in a patient’s recovery process, however it all comes down to how you present the information. Tell patients what needs improvement and set goals, but make sure you are optimistic about the recovery process. Also, make sure to point out any strengths you notice in the patient along with the areas that will need some work.

Alvernia doctor of physical therapy students will take courses like Foundations of Physical Therapy, where they will learn to focus on their responsibility to patients, families, colleagues, the profession and the community. The course covers topics such as the code of ethics, altruistic service, patient-centered outcomes, patient-provider relationships and more.

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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