It is not uncommon to see apprehension—even fear—among patients in a physical therapy clinic. They have siblings, cousins, and friends who went through a challenging rehabilitation; or they are intimidated by all the unknowns that lie before them on the road to recovery.
Rehabilitation can seem like an insurmountable hill to climb.
It Starts with Empathy
We hear these sentiments and take note, because the concerns are understandable. We’ve all been to the dentist! It can be a similar sense of dread, walking into a physical therapy clinic after an injury or surgery. Patients wonder just how painful it’s all going to be. How uncomfortable. How much time lunging, squatting, dipping, and stabilizing? Walking, rotating, pushing, and pulling?
We hear these sentiments and we empathize.
Understanding how patients feel about physical therapy is a great place to begin reducing tension and fear. A mountain has appeared on the horizon, and it’s time to play Sherpa. When patients see an experienced professional, who can relate to their fear—who will approach therapy with that kind of empathy—they will be more willing to let go of that fear.
After all, the aim of physical therapy professionals—our passion, our livelihood—is not to put patients through a painful experience that they dread. Our aim is to reduce pain by bringing remedy and strength to the source of the ailment. Injuries and disorders happen—muscles, bones, and joints sometimes fall into dysfunction, or get damaged. And it happens to everyone: the elderly; the middle-aged; the young.
Empathy is about making sure these patients know that reducing their pain is our ultimate goal, and making an effort to empathize goes a long way.
Communication is Key
We believe a good patient-therapist relationship is built on trust. Active listening, and showing an invested interest in each patient, can significantly lower barriers and reduce fear.
Our job is to help our patients work through these injuries, regain strength, and leave the clinic stronger than when they entered it—to get our patients back on their feet. Similarly, at AlterG, our team members work toward that same common goal: to get people back to doing what they love. As partners in rehab, we believe our amazing technology AND your expertise in physical therapy can provide an ideal rehabilitation program for all types of patients. Communicating the rehab plan, setting goals, and tracking progress with patients is integral to achieving this aim.
AlterG takes this commitment a step further by bringing innovative technology into physical therapy facilities and hospitals alike; technology that is offering new approaches to physical therapy and enriching the field and patients within it.
This starts with our flagship product, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill™. Our Anti-Gravity Treadmill offers a low-impact, stress-reducing addition to any PT clinic, rehabilitation facility, or wellness center. The “unweighting” achieved with this technology helps patients eliminate pain, regain mobility, increase their strength and conditioning, and improve range of motion, all while reducing stress to the body and chance for further injury.
And with the new Stride Smart system, you can now accurately collect objective data and provide visual monitoring for both patients and clinicians. Show your patients what they can’t feel. Take advantage of our improved video system, now with recording capabilities that allow your patients to see their gait in real-time. You can even record clips and play them back in slow motion, or save them for your patient’s records.
Key Gait Metrics for Your Rehab Program
By adding objective data measurements to AlterG’s Anti-Gravity Treadmill technology, you can now quantify the impact of varying body weight percentages on gait symmetry and cadence to help your patients achieve success. Stride Smart will measure:
• Weight bearing symmetry
• Step length symmetry
• Stance time symmetry
By innovating this way, we can make good on our empathy and strong communication with physical therapy solutions that actually do reduce pain and fear. What’s your approach? Maybe you’ve already found new ways to make therapy sessions fun and incentive-based. Perhaps you rely on some pre-appointment communication that outlines, in detail, the nature of the therapy program.
Whatever your approach, reducing fear among patients is integral to a well-run clinic, because the fear is there, whether we choose to address it or not.