I took a week off from blogging, so I decided to keep the one this week short. I've been on and off of holidays, so my schedule is a little abnormal. So here we go.
One of the biggest challenges that I face as a healthcare provider is in trying to impart to the patient that I am unable to do everything. For some reason, there is a perception that patients can just step back and let their chiropractor do whatever they are going to do, and that it will be all that is required to get them to their goals. Unfortunately that is not the case.
One of the things that I try to mention in my initial visits/reports of findings (I sometimes forget, I’m not perfect) is that chiropractic is more of a team effort. Sometimes, this earns a confused look or two from the patient. I can understand why. Many healthcare disciplines involve the patient being given a diagnosis, and a treatment. Most of those treatments are very passive. You take a pill, you get a treatment, but other than that you don’t really have to do anything extra. So I appreciate when a patient is confused after I describe what I do as a team effort. Isn’t it as simple as getting an adjustment? Doesn’t that do everything that we need? It certainly is the bulk of what I do, but it isn’t everything. That is where homecare comes in.
This is the part of the care plan that becomes the team effort. I will admit that I am occasionally a little slow at giving homework, but I try my best to incorporate it into the care plan. It isn’t because I don’t want to do everything I can at the office to help, it is simply because there are some things that are highly beneficial for the patient to do in between adjustments to help them along.
I find that in most cases where patients do their homework, they are able to progress through the care plan at a quicker rate. What I give as homework can be one of many things; stretching, exercise, traction, etc. I try to explain why I am assigning the homework, and what I want to achieve. This is where the ability to work as a team really comes to light. Patient compliance for homework can be terrible sometimes. I remind the patient that there is a reason that I have given said homework, but occasionally it doesn’t do much to light a fire under the patient. That is fine. I make recommendations based on what I think will benefit the patient and their progress the best, the rest is up to them.
Unfortunately not all patients do their homework, and that can be frustrating. It can be particularly frustrating when a patient just can’t seem to get over a certain progress threshold, and you know that the stretches you assigned would likely be helping them progress. The best I can do as the homework assigner is to remind the patient of the benefits of what I have assigned. The rest is up to them. As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” So next time your chiropractor assigns homework, do yourself a favour and do it. The doctor has your wellbeing in mind when they assign it, and it will only benefit you in the long run.