- Some Patients Are Afraid of Pain
One of the most common misconceptions people may have about physical therapy is that it is painful. However, contrary to popular belief, physical therapy is actually designed to help relieve and manage pain, as you already know. Sometimes it takes explaining to patients the benefits of therapy in pain management and alleviation for them to understand how it works and what they should expect from it. Many people fail to realize that though therapy can be uncomfortable, it is never meant to be painful.
- Patients May Think Physical Therapy Is Time-Consuming
Time is generally a primary concern for most people. Most patients usually have school, careers, family, and other demands on their time. Therefore, when it comes to scheduling time for physical therapy, it can seem impossible to add one more thing to their already packed schedule. On the other hand, some patients may be concerned that physical therapy will take too long. They do not want to commit weeks and months of their time to attend therapy. When you consider the busy lives we lead and how we try to fit everything into our limited schedule, you can begin to empathize with your patients and understand where they are coming from. A great solution would be creating a rehabilitation schedule that is tailored to your patient’s schedule. It can include at-home exercises and in-office rehabilitation sessions.
- Patients May Believe Physical Therapy Is Too Expensive
Physical therapy is not familiar to most people. It’s not a program your patient may have undergone before, and people tend to be afraid of the unknown. This can be a barrier for many patients. Additionally, if your patient does not have insurance to cover their costs, paying out of pocket can be too expensive. However, you can work with patients to discuss cost-cutting strategies they can leverage to get the treatment they need.
- Some Patients Are Afraid That Physical Therapy Won’t Work
How do you know something is going to work, especially if you have never experienced it before? This is the same thought that may plague patients, as they may not ascertain the effectiveness of attending therapy sessions. This might be less of a concern for patients who have undergone rehabilitation before, but it can be a very real concern for patients who haven’t undergone physical therapy. To curb this, you can share success stories with your patients that qualify the importance of therapy during consultations.
When someone is suffering from mobility issues, it might be easier to convince themselves that rehabilitation won’t work rather than have hope and then get discouraged. Getting over this mental barrier may help some patients open up to physical therapy.
- Some Patients May Be Afraid of Working With a Physical Therapist
Even though therapists normally try to be friendly and welcoming to everyone, sometimes some patients may feel uncomfortable and even afraid to do physical therapy. This may be due to personal issues like haphephobia (the fear of being touched by strangers) and uncommunicated expectations like the outcome they desire out of physiotherapy.
- Patients May Be Afraid of Commitment
Just like going to the gym or starting a new diet, physical therapy comes with a demand for commitment; not many patients feel they can stick it out till the end. This may keep many patients from trying because they already believe they will fail. However, working out therapy plans that work for your patients can help them conceptualize how much will be asked of them within the program. This can help them evaluate their commitment using a tangible measure compared to going at it blindly.
- Some Patients Are Afraid of Falling
Some patients are concerned about attending therapy because of the fear of falling, clinically referred to as “ptophobia”. According to Tinetti of the Department of Medicine and Public Health at Yale University and Powell of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, the fear of falling (FOF) is an ongoing concern about falling that ultimately limits the performance of daily activities. Reduced mobility makes patients insecure about avoiding falls, effectively keeping them out of therapy.
- Patients May Be Afraid of Getting Injured
Sometimes patients incur injuries during physical therapy sessions due to falls, among other reasons. This can keep prospective patients from going to therapy as they are afraid that they’ll meet the same fate. Reassuring your patients can go a long way in overcoming this fear. Addressing patient safety is a key concern in ensuring that patients are safe within rehabilitation facilities. This might go a long way in relieving patients’ fears.
In the next section, we’ll discuss patient safety and how physical therapists can ensure they observe patient safety guidelines to ensure their patients get the best care and treatment.