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Allied News December 19, 2018

By Brook Jillings

5 Great Reasons to Become a PT/PTA Advocate

Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are in a unique position for patient advocacy due to the amount of time spent with their charges. The nature of the profession requires PTs have intimate knowledge of what the patient is experiencing so they can adjust the care plan to meet the patient's unique needs.

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If you aren't convinced of the importance of being a PT patient advocate, here are five reasons it has a positive impact on you and your patients.

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5 REASONS PATIENT ADVOCACY IS IMPORTANT FOR PHYSICAL THERAPISTS

1. PTs spend an extended period of time with patients
Physical therapists often spend weeks with patients, giving them a unique view of the overall well-being of those they care for. Having the opportunity to spend so much time with a patient allows the PT or PTA to identify changes in condition that would be missed by a temporary-care nurse. Patient advocacy is all about the bigger picture.

2. PTs know details about patient experiences
Strong and frequent communication is essential for a PT or PTA to be effective. The need to provide regular physical therapy evaluations gives the PT a detailed look at the specifics that are often overlooked by other healthcare professionals with more restrictive time constraints. These details allow you to identify discomfort and understand more personal details about the patient's life.

3. Patient advocacy can improve outcomes
As a PT patient advocate, you can influence the amount of care your patients receive. If an insurance company or physician decides your patient has maxed out on physical therapy, but you know there is still work to be done, you have the professional knowledge to argue for the necessary care. Your patient may not feel comfortable fighting for care or may not have the knowledge to argue effectively. Receiving the care they need due to your efforts can increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.

4. It can establish trust
Having the trust of your patients is crucial to being effective as a PT. You can establish trust over time, but a patient is going to have much more confidence in a PT patient advocate when they see their care is a priority to you. As a result, the patient will be much more willing to follow your instructions and believe in your recommendations, making your interactions much smoother.

5. It can reignite your passion and improve your professional environment
Finally, advocacy can also be beneficial to your career. PT advocates also engage in fighting for legislation to give their colleagues more power to heal.

Fighting for increased access to physical therapy allows you to offer your services to more patients who need them. Championing your profession and the people you treat can prevent burnout and give you a greater sense of control over your professional circumstances.

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