Educated Patients Are More Successful in Physical Therapy

October 10, 2017

With the ongoing changes to the U.S. healthcare system, it’s never been more important for patients to actively participate in the management of their own health and well-being. Studies show that engaged and informed patients often report more positive healthcare experiences including high-quality dialogue with physical therapists and fewer problems with care coordination.

To get the most out of physical therapy, patients should be familiar with available treatments, know how to find the best therapist for their needs, and learn to advocate for themselves. It’s also important for patients to be able to describe how a particular problem is affecting their daily lives including symptoms, loss of function, and inability to complete tasks that once came easily.

How can patients play a more active role in physical therapy? A few habits of highly engaged patients include:

  • Knowing when to seek professional help.
  • Preparing thoughtful questions to ask a physical therapist.
  • Being familiar with the treatment guidelines for their condition.
  • Following through on a care plan.
  • Proactively seeking health-related information.

Today’s patients have more tools than ever at their disposal to locate the right resources, remain informed about health needs, participate in a care plan, and take ownership of their health. Physical therapists can partner with patients on their quest to regain function, improve mobility, or avoid unnecessary surgeries and medications.

Patients who take a more active role in the care process know their options and commit to a healthier lifestyle including getting more exercise and eating right. And research says it’s working. Patients who are more engaged in their own care plans tend to achieve better results overall.

About The Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association Founded in 1956, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association champions the success of physical therapist-owned businesses. Our members are leaders and innovators in the health care system. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy nationwide. For more information, please visit

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