Do You Know How to Take A Patient-Centered Care Approach, Improve Therapeutic Relationships, and Outcomes?
A musculoskeletal pain condition is an injury or disorder that involves the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. These disorders are one of the leading contributors to disability throughout the world, and about 30% of Americans are currently affected. Musculoskeletal pain conditions can develop anywhere in the body, but the spine is by far the most common location, as low back pain and neck pain are among the top reasons for visiting a doctor. Other common musculoskeletal pain conditions include osteoarthritis, tendinitis, strains, sprains, fractures, and tears of ligaments and tendons.
Humans are Complex – Our Physical Therapy Con-Ed is Something that Will Help You Better Address Your Patients’ Needs
A multitude of factors are involved in the development musculoskeletal pain conditions, include genetics and various psychological, social, and biophysical factors. Therefore, physical therapists and other healthcare providers that administer musculoskeletal rehabilitation should strive to develop a broader understanding of how these biopsychosocial factors influence musculoskeletal conditions.
Doing so will improve healthcare providers’ ability to deliver higher quality care for patients with persistent musculoskeletal pain, primarily by using a patient-centered or personalized approach to care.
What Exactly is a Patient-Centered Approach?
In a patient-centered care approach, the healthcare provider prioritizes seeing the patient as a person, having a biopsychosocial perspective, and sharing power and responsibility with the patient in a therapeutic alliance. This type of approach helps to establish:
- Meaningful connections,
- Shared decision-making, and
- patient-centered communication;
However, many clinicians experience difficulties when integrating patient-centered care principles into their practice.
This Research Supports the New Approach, but It Requires Additional Physical Therapy Continuing Education
In response, a symposium about patient-centered care for patients with musculoskeletal conditions with the goal of enhancing physical therapists’ patient-centered approach to practice and better equip them to support patients with these conditions. A paper was also published to share the key elements of this symposium with physical therapists and other clinicians, which is summarized below.
Members of the symposium defined three key facets of patient-centered care to help support the transfer of this knowledge into clinical practice:
1) establish meaningful connections,
2) employ shared decision-making, and
3) support self-management.
Establish meaningful connections – That’s Exactly What Our Shoulder & Weight Management PT CEU Courses Provide
According to the symposium members, the therapeutic relationship between patients and practitioners is at the core of a patient-centered care approach, since a positive relationship between these parties is associated with better clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and adherence to the management plan.
Therefore, healthcare providers should aim to establish meaningful connections with their patients to strengthen this relationship and form a therapeutic alliance. When done properly, this can help maximize the effectiveness for and with the patient seeking care.
The following three suggestions were made to help healthcare providers achieve meaningful connections with their patients:
- Acknowledge the patient through words, body language, validation, and actively individualizing management
- Use therapeutic touch to clarify physical problems and to connect the individual back to their body
- Take a deliberate and responsive approach to meet the needs of the patient within or outside the clinical consultation
Employ Shared Decision-Making
Shared decision-making is the next step in the therapeutic alliance in which the person seeking care is treated as an equal partner of the healthcare provider. It aims to move away from the traditional model of healthcare in which the “doctor knows best” and makes all decisions for the patient. Instead, the patient is included in their treatment planning, which allows for their experience to combine with the clinician’s skills to collectively determine the most appropriate next steps for achieving their goals. Shared decision-making involves outlining valid options of treatment and discussing each of these to understand possible risks and benefits. This process can be supported using decision-making aids or tools to facilitate a collaborative approach between the therapist and the patient.
The final facet of patient-centered care involves teaching patients with musculoskeletal pain to actively take ownership of their management and the resulting outcomes. Since many musculoskeletal conditions are persistent, optimal long-term outcomes are far more likely if the therapist teaches them the following self-management skills:
- Problem solving
- Goal setting
- Action plans
- Managing their pain
It can be challenging to teach these skills, but since the characteristics of many long-term musculoskeletal conditions are similar, helping patients establish certain core principles (eg, engaging in exercise, a healthy lifestyle, a positive therapeutic relationship, and education on biopsychosocial modifiers) can lead to self-efficacy and resilience for any other musculoskeletal conditions that may arise.
Contact ACE to Learn More – We Have a Unique Approach to Physical Therapy Continuing Education & You’ll Earn PT CEUs as Well!
Applied Continuing Education (ACE) is heavily invested in promoting a patient-centered approach to care, and these principles are consistently interwoven into our two physical therapy continuing education courses (“Weight Management for Rehab Patients” and “Shoulder Pain and Dysfunction”).
If you’re interested in improving your communication skills with patients and would like to learn more about our courses, review the ACE website to see if the courses align with your needs and values.
You can also contact ACE at 781-229-8011 or email@example.com, as Mike and I are both more than happy to discuss our courses and answer any questions you might have.