Gaining access to a skilled physical therapist is extremely important and is one of the major issues we face as a profession and health care system. We are after Self-Referral… or Direct Access. Meaning, if a member of the community thinks they need services from a physical therapist, they should be able to directly access that service, and that therapist.
Here’s the problem: WE know who could benefit from our diagnosis, prognosis, interventions and thought processes… but the public often does not. If they don’t know what we do (other than “pain and torture” or “massage”) then why would they seek us out?
They have no internal drive to refer themselves… they still rely on the judgement of the healthcare system to point them in our direction. (*and we are indeed happy with those relationships we have earned and built, no doubt).
So the #GetPT1st movement was born. One of the main goals being: Let the public know how we can help. Let your network know what we do. Educate in a meaningful, community centered and patient centered manner. Share your benefit and Be the benefit you know you are.
#GetPT1st is made up of you. It started as a simple discussion from passionate PTs from around the country… and it grows in the same manner. There is now a community centered, patient oriented website: getPT1st.com where there is an effort to speak in an inclusive way about what PT is. Yes there are other superb for-the-public sites: physiotherapychoices.org.au, moveforwardPT.com, etc.. #GetPT1st is simply an additional resource and share concept.
The next #GetPT1st event is July 1st… what does that mean?
As PTs we’ve all had clinical affiliations/rotations, we’ve all experienced and worked in different settings. We’ve seen the benefits of our thought processes and interventions.
What is better than learning to walk again after a brain injury? What is more important than clearing up the shoulder pain so a person can return to full healthy activity and sport? What is more important than protecting against the deleterious effects of immobility in the hospital? What is more important than skilled physical therapy after a surgical intervention in getting the person back up and running again?
We are so valuable to the recovery ecosystem… the point of the #GetPT1st grassroots movement is to share this message, in the way that you feel comfortable. Because people need to know.
Call to action: Easy as having a conversation, just speak on the benefits. We are currently doing this through social media (Twitter @GetPT1st and #GetPT1st and Facebook GetPT1st page) and have scheduled “events” where we take time out to share what we love about PT, how PT can help people, and what we do. It’s not my clinic vs your clinic, or private practice vs IPR… it’s PT as a recovery solution. There’s a PT for every patient.
Yes we have earned and deserve Direct Access privileges, people are indeed in good hands when they self-refer to us or see us walk into their hospital room for the first time… but true progress relies on us owning our place in healthcare and maximizing our strengths.
So, share your word. Your community will thank you.
*views expressed are mine.