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Physios challenged to make it easier for patients to stick with their exercises

6 June 2017 - 5:28pm

Physiotherapists are signing up to a ‘21 Day Challenge’ to complete exercise programmes they typically prescribe, and make them easier for patients to stick with.

Physios challenged to make it easier for patients to stick with their exercises

The 21 Day Challenge aims to provide solutions which make rehab easier to comply with. Photo: Nathan Clarke

The gauntlet has been thrown down by Brighton-based running injury specialist Tom Goom, and physio David Pope from Australian online resource Clinical Edge.

The ‘21 Day Challenge’ was launched on Mr Goom’s RunningPhysio website on 1 June and within five days 4,000 people had registered. No closing date has been set.

‘It’s really easy for us physios to give out exercises and expect the patients to do them, and sometimes we don’t actually empathise with how hard it is to do them,’ said Mr Goom.

‘So the idea is to get physios – and other health professionals – picking a typical programme they might give to a patient and commit to doing it themselves for 21 days, to see what it’s actually like.’

What prompted Mr Goom to create the project was partly his own experience of injury when he struggled to complete a rehabilitation programme. Another reason was research suggesting that a high proportion of patients – possibly as many as 70 per cent – did not exercise as advised.

There is marketing in this too because at the end of June Mr Goom is launching an online version of his course about treating injured runners.

More empathy with patients

Meanwhile, he is doing the challenge himself and finding it hard to fit the exercises into his day. He said it was already affecting his practice by giving him more empathy with patients.

The challenge is designed to provide solutions, which will make it easier for patients to complete their exercises.

Mr Goom said that if time is an issue – and it often is– physiotherapists could ask the patient to perform their exercises fewer times each week, or rearrange them to cut out the need for recovery between repetitions.

When people sign up for the 21-Day Challenge, they get an email with their initial challenge of choosing an exercise programme.

‘We are interacting with people along the way and trying to give them good feedback,’ said Mr Goom.

‘We are doing this through a private Facebook group so that anyone signing up to the challenge can see what others are sharing.’

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