Patient Empowerment and Engagement - December 2015
Jack Keating, Exercise Physiologist
Have you got patients that appear stuck, are not making progress in the management of their pain, and are becoming resistant to start managing their condition themselves?
Often patients that are stalled in their progress have sense of helplessness, relinquished responsibility and ‘a victim of the system’ mindset. Whilst ever these negative psychological phenomena persist, forward progress can be almost impossible to achieve. Breaking this cycle of practitioner dependence requires significant time and patient education. In my role as an Exercise Physiologist working in a multidisciplinary team environment, I am well aware of the time pressures busy General Practitioners face, and the reality that often such patient education and thought restructuring is beyond what can be achieved in a standard consultation. This is where I can effectively and efficiently partner with you, the patient’s GP, to assist in moving your patients forward with new engagement in the coordinated management of their chronic conditions.
Involving a team approach in the care of these patients allows the GP to maintain a management role, in directing their care, however adding a layer of support to progress with the patient. As an Exercise Physiologist, I will have the time to support and encourage the patient with individualised programs and guidance that is specific and direct.
Using GP Management Plans and EPC appointments with the Exercise Physiologist is also a cost effective way of accessing care for these tricky patients. We offer all EPC appointments at a $10 gap to the patient.
Exercise Physiologist Role to Play
As an Exercise Physiologist, I focus on empowering the patient, to recognise that their input will determine their outcome and give them the tools and confidence to accomplish it themselves. The following tools help in that process:
a) Patient education – showing the individual what is going on in their bodies with diagrams and models, how what they do influences their anatomy and how we can use it to our advantage.
b) Self management tools - teaching the patient how to do the exercises, ensuring comprehension and giving a printout or video instruction of the specific exercises to take home.
c) Healthy attitude – reinforcing a healthy attitude by reiterating that if they take responsibility they can improve, that change takes time and effort, and that there will only be positive side effects on their lives.
The following is a good list for some further inspiration: