What happens when therapy should not stay in therapy? A patient needs to continue the process outside of the therapy studio to maximize their outcomes. This really isn’t very different from professional athletes. While they attend team practices, they also enlist a collection of diverse professionals to make sure they are in the top physical and mental condition to excel when playing their sport. This may include a personal trainer, a dietician, and a motivational coach. Any one of these advisors provide some benefit on their own, but, when combined into an integrated program, the results can be amazing.

Consider the example of Physical Therapy deciding to implement a four-wheel walker for a patient.

  • It’s vital for Occupational Therapy to help the patient succeed with accomplishing ADLs by sequencing the steps to use the walker safely in their apartment.
  • Speech Therapy often works with patients on their cognitive abilities. So ST can work with the patient to confirm they understand how to use the walker and then follow up with spaced retrieval training and appropriate environmental aids to help them continue to use it successfully.
  • Nurses need to include the recommendations into the patient’s care plan and make it understandable when training caregivers to execute the plan of care.

The importance of a holistic approach in therapy is stated nicely in an April, 2022 study titled The central question of transitional care: Integrating the person into care or care into the person? The study references the lack of coordination between a hospital and those responsible for the patient after discharge saying:

“This sometimes leads to fragmentation of care, without guaranteeing continuity of interventions started during hospitalization, and without the appropriate focused care that the complexity of these transitions and the need for individualization of therapeutic measures require. These aspects explain many of the difficulties faced by patients in adhering to therapeutic regimens, including nursing therapies. This increases their vulnerability, delays rehabilitation and functional recovery, and increases the risk of complications inherent to the worsening of their clinical and social situation.”

While our patients at Odom aren’t the professional athletes I referenced above, the physical challenges they face, relatively speaking, may be comparable.  The recovery process from surgery, stroke or other health conditions takes commitment and consistent effort that goes beyond a daily 30 minute session with a Physical Therapist.  The PTs at Odom understand the importance of collaboration with other professionals to develop a holistic approach to therapy.