The education should not stop on the last visit, in fact, it's more important than ever! Here are 5 important messages I convey as discharge looms.
The one thing I do not do, that most patients expect is add extra things to do just because it's the last visit. If you do, how can you monitor how they affect the patient?
1) Is there anything else you would like us to address?
- You'd be surprised how often patients who come for HA do not tell you about their lower back, knee pain, etc because they thought it was not relevant at the time
- This is also a way to lead into message #2
2) As NYS is DA, you do not need a prescription to come back and see us
- Patients are relieved and more likely to use your services again, or refer their friends/family when you tell them they can skip the rest/meds route and go directly to you
3) Keep up with your HEP (especially if MDT based)
- for how long? - only as long as you want to remain better
- I always tell patients if they come back with the same complaints, and there was no trauma or accident, I will first happily greet them, then lecture them for not keeping up with their homework
4) When to come back
- as our spine research shows there are better outcomes during the acute phases of cervical and lumbar injury or onset it is important to tell patients when to make an appointment
- my guidelines are, if your Sx or similar area complaints return, double down on your HEP, and if there is improvement, it is likely to get better on its own
- if the Sx worsen, or they persist longer than 1 week without change, call immediately and well get you in ASAP
5) Email me or call with any questions
- patients feel reassured if you are still available to answer questions even after you are finished seeing them
- I do state it may take a day to get back by either method of communication, but most understand that but feel reassured that you are still there to help if need be
Bonus point: I also give patients the option to stay on for performance enhancement or personal training should they not want to use a local gym or fitness center. If they do, I have suggestions for different categories, depending on their needs, yoga, pilates, personal training... etc.. What are some messages you convey upon discharge?