May 3, 2023
Studies reveal that a mere 35% of physical therapy patients are showing Home Exercise Program Compliance. This shockingly low figure indicates that the majority of patients are not completing their physical therapy home exercise program. The most frequently cited reasons include lack of motivation, questions about self-efficacy, and perceived barriers to exercise. While patients ultimately hold responsibility for actively engaging in their care, we, as rehabilitation professionals, can do more to support our patients in completing their home exercise programs and entire course of care.
Outdated processes persist in many PT practices.
Our roles as physical therapists extend beyond the time our patients spend in the clinic. Most patients view physical therapy as encompassing the whole injury recovery process—from initial evaluation to post-discharge and every step in between. By encouraging patients to adhere to their home exercise programs, we can simultaneously enhance their outcomes and their perception of their experience with physical therapy by using MovementRX for Remote Therapeutic Monitoring. Regrettably, many PTs still follow the same ineffective process they have used for decades:
- Develop the patient’s exercise program.
- Provide the patient with a print-out of the exercise program.
- At subsequent visits, ask the patient if he or she completed the home exercise program (at which point the patient likely responds, “Uh, yeah”).
A superior approach exists to boost home exercise program compliance.
A better approach involves teaching patients the importance of completing their home exercise programs and empowering them to believe in their ability to do so. First, however, we must believe that our actions can genuinely produce the desired results in our patients—because they can. Here are six strategies to help you help your patients boost home exercise compliance:
- Explain how the home exercise program contributes to your patients’ functional goals. Help your patients develop the motivation to complete their “homework” by describing the specific benefits. Personalize the connection between the exercises you prescribe and your patients’ motivation for attending therapy to secure their buy-in from the outset.
- Offer structure. Many patients are not regular exercisers and struggle to comply with their home exercise program due to a lack of behavioral strategies and habits necessary for success. Discuss your patients’ schedules, identify when they can fit exercise into their day, and help them establish a structured routine. Encourage them to input exercise times into their planners or set smartphone reminders to stay on track.
- Empower patients to tailor their HEP to their needs. Many patients view exercises as all-or-nothing, waiting for an open hour or two before starting. Breaking up their routine throughout the day can facilitate compliance. Quick 15-minute sessions are better than none, and multiple short sessions can accumulate into a full program.
- Encourage patients to track their progress. This can improve their sense of control and accomplishment, boosting confidence and self-efficacy.
- Concentrate on the goals. Inspiring patients to set short-term, measurable, and attainable home exercise goals can enhance their intrinsic motivation—and achieving one goal can propel them to complete the next.
- Be accessible. Insufficient social support can significantly impede a patient’s progress. Assure your patients of your availability to provide support and your investment in their recovery. Consider checking in with patients after hours to discuss home exercise program progress and address any questions. Patient engagement software can facilitate consistent outreach.
These broad strategies to boost home exercise program compliance are designed as a starting point. Each patient is unique and faces individual challenges requiring a tailored approach. A one-size-fits-all solution will not help your patients succeed. By focusing on the patient-provider relationship and serving as a source of encouragement and support, you can help your patients overcome their obstacles, comply with their home exercise programs, and ultimately, enhance their therapy outcomes.
At MovementRX, we also offer remote therapeutic monitoring services to support our patients even further. This technology allows us to track patient progress, provide real-time feedback, and ensure they are performing their exercises correctly. By incorporating remote therapeutic monitoring, we can create a more personalized and efficient home exercise experience for our patients, increasing the likelihood of adherence and success.
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To learn more about remote therapeutic monitoring and how this can impact both your patients outcomes and clinic finances click here.