The demanding role of a modern physical therapist
What is your typical workweek as a physical therapist? Many of you work between 40-60 hours per week. This includes time spent in clinical practice, administrative duties, continuing education activities, research projects, teaching and other professional responsibilities.
Whether it's long hours, difficult patients or emotionally tough work, the nature and complexities of your work can present many challenges to your mental health as a therapist. For example, there have been concerns about burnout among therapists who spend long periods working with patients suffering from chronic pain or disability.
Covid-19 obviously put huge strains on all health workers. Protecting themselves and patients from spreading the virus was a top priority for patient safety of course.
It also forced certain physical therapy treatments to be adapted, including therapists supporting patients remotely via video calls from home. Unfortunately, the pandemic also forced some therapists to be furloughed or even laid off, adding to the mental stress in an increasingly demanding profession.
Mental Health For Physical Therapists Must Be Taken Seriously
Physical therapy students are taught to be aware of their own emotional state as well as that of others around them. Yet being conscious to look after your own mental health is difficult, particularly when you have a busy schedule of patients to treat.
Therapists often exhibit incredible levels of empathy for patients but rarely is that replicated for their own health.
It is important to remember that we are all human beings first before we become healthcare providers. Let this email be a reminder to pause throughout your day, check in with yourself and notice any signs of depression, anxiety or other mental health strains and know when it’s appropriate to seek help from someone else.
Top recommendations for helping therapists’ own emotional well-being
The American Physical Therapy Association recently released new guidelines aimed at helping clinicians address their own emotional well-being while providing care to clients.
• Recognising signs of stress and seeking help if you need it;
• Taking breaks when needed;
• Staying connected with friends and family outside your job;
• Making sure you get enough sleep each night;
• Eating healthy foods regularly;
• Getting regular exercise;
• Maintaining an optimistic outlook.
Equipment that looks after therapists each day
Dyaco Medical equipment has been thoughtfully designed with the most important needs of both patients and physical therapists.
Here are 3 simple ways our equipment can make therapists' daily work that little bit less stressful while also helping patients recover faster:
1) A raised deck so that caregivers minimise back strain
Our medical treadmill includes a very useful deck lift that minimises strain for therapists. With it, they can help patients get onto the deck more safely, and it even displays step height measurements from the step platform to the deck.
The multi-functional, removable step provides a lower step-up height for people who need a bit more stability getting on and off the treadmill. It also serves as a platform for plyometric exercises and steps compliance.
2) Therapists can easily view workout data in real-time and for download
Large, bright LED windows make it easy for clinicians to view important workout data at a glance. Patients and clinicians can quickly see essential, real-time performance feedback. Real-time streaming of patients’ data is also available for clinicians to download, including metrics such as windows display time, rotations per minute, watts, calories, METs, heart rate, and power.
3) Wheelchair accessibility for patients with limited mobility
The Rehabilitation Recumbent Seated Stepper brings accessibility to wheelchair-bound patients while still providing a quality workout. It is fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to ensure accessibility for the widest range of disabilities. Its seat can be removed for direct wheelchair access as well as being able to be rotated and swivelled as needed for any user.
Healthy, supported therapists lead to happy patients
By looking after yourself and supporting your physical therapy colleagues in their daily battle to protect mental health, the long-term benefits are obvious. Less staff turnover and sickness, improved patient care and recoveries. Mental health support must be set in your daily routines and organisational habits.
We hope you found the tips in this newsletter a useful reminder to make mental health a priority for therapists. Dyaco Medical supports this with equipment that eases therapists’ daily strain and improves patient recovery too.