Setting Physical Therapy Recovery Goals
The expertise of a physical therapist can be fundamental when recovering from certain injuries and medical conditions. Working with a therapist can help you restore the functionality of the injured body parts. The effectiveness of the various treatments used in physical therapy, however, depends on many factors, and the goals set by a patient are some of them. If you are to get the most out of therapy, you have to know why you are doing it. Understanding your objectives before the program begins provides a plan to work with at each stage. Frustration can set in easily when you don’t feel like your therapy is attaining any progress. Goal setting should be a joint undertaking between the patient and therapist to ensure that both comprehend what is at stake. However, there is a right way to lay out these recovery objectives.
The cardinal rule of therapy goals is to keep them as realistic and attainable as possible. Don’t be too ambitious with your recovery that you come up with objectives you cannot fulfil. Doing that will only cause disappointments, which can be counterproductive to the process. Understand your capabilities before you set recovery goals. What is the extent of your injury? What is the prognosis? A patient who has had a spinal injury, for example, may not be able to gain full mobility, and that should be included in the goals. Begin by setting small goals that you are capable of achieving after your scheduled therapy. When starting the program, for instance, you can say that your objective is to move from the bed to the door with minimal support. After that, the goal can change to moving from the room to the main door. Goals keep you grounded but only if they are smart.
A patient must be able to communicate freely with the physical therapist during the recovery process. Good communication channels will allow you to get the necessary assistance when establishing goals. With communication, the therapist can help you to be reasonable with your goals. If you are pushing yourself, then he/she will tell you. Communication is necessary to get the motivation you need. The PT exercises can be challenging, and you can easily be tempted to give up. When you speak honestly with your therapist, you can get the moral support and advice needed to keep you on track. Communication allows both patient and therapist to discuss the progress of the program candidly. If it is too slow or going well, the therapist will inform you.
Any goal should have a time frame. It is how you measure progress. Of course, the time frame has to be as realistic as the objectives. For example, an athlete with a torn Achilles tendon may want to get well enough to compete professionally. How long that takes, however, depends on several elements. The severity of the injury, the physical condition of the patient and the type of treatment administered are some of those aspects. A therapist will consider these when establishing the right schedule for recovery. You can say that in three weeks, you will be walking a certain distance. In two months, you will be walking without support. However, don’t be discouraged when you don’t meet your goals in the set period. Adjusting them with the help of your therapist is possible.
The point of PT is to help regain as much as possible. PT programs can be extensive in serious cases. Having recovery goals is good advice for any patient because it allows one to get the most out of therapy. Setting objectives for your PT is the best way to get involved in the therapy, which makes you feel in control. Note that recovery goals can go beyond the PT offered by the therapist. In most cases, patients have to continue with exercises when at home and goals can cover those programs as well. Objectives should be specific so you can tell when you have achieved them.
The recovery road is different for everyone, and that is what every patient must remember when setting goals for physical therapy. Attainable and realistic objectives provide a guide when working on your recovery, which makes it easy to monitor progress. Take the time to identify your PT objectives, which can range from being able to dance at a wedding to running a marathon.