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5 Challenges Facing Physical Therapists in 2021

  1. capstone_project_expert
    COVID-19 and Telehealth
    Accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth uptake in physical therapy practices continues to increase. But the onboarding of telehealth technology, understandably, has not been straightforward. While most clients associate physical therapy with in-person visits to work on rehabilitation and mobility, the lock-down landscape forced a shift for both clients and practitioners to make changes to the ways that they work together.
    Educational Expenses
    Itís not a concern that affects only physical therapists, but itís worth noting that physical therapists usually have at least six years of college behind them before they start work, which brings with it large student loans and interest repayments. Trying to focus on your career while struggling with debt makes it more difficult to focus on offering the best levels of care to your clients. Research by the APTA showed that over 90% of physical therapy graduates have debt in excess of $153,000 (not including mortgage debt) and that the vast majority of the debt is education-related, at around $116,000 on average.
    Demanding Client Care
    According to the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention, over 40% of US adults are obese, and even in the UK (25%) and Australia (30%), the numbers are climbing. Recovering from an injury or surgery is difficult without the added limitation of an obese client. This may make it more challenging for them to complete their at-home exercises, and an in-person session will be more physically demanding for you as the therapist. Also, in many cases, the clientís weight will make your sessions less effective, causing the client to attend therapy for longer, incur greater costs, and achieve a less positive outcome.
    Restrictive Healthcare Legislations
    There is a seemingly unending stream of regulatory changes that continue to trickle down to physical therapy practices, from Electronic Health Records to ICD-10 code changes and reimbursement schedules. This makes it harder for a practice to stay afloat as they are held back by red tape, as well as making it more difficult to get reimbursed by third-party payers, as the goalposts keep moving.
    Stress Management
    long hours on the job are standard for physical therapists, with a constant stream of clients to see during the day, then admin and paperwork to catch up with in the evenings. These demands make it difficult to schedule time for yourself and your needs, and the ongoing physical exertion of your job leaves you exhausted by the evening and definitely not in the mood to pull on your trainers and take a run around the block. This becomes more noticeable as you get older, where the physical requirements of doing your job begin to take a heavier toll on your health and fitness.
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