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What exactly is ‘physical therapy motivation‘ and how can it help improve patient compliance and outcomes?

First, let’s define motivation:

1. the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. escape can be a strong motivation for travel

9 Ways To Keep Physical Therapy Patients Motivated

by | Aug 10, 2022 | Marketing

1. Physical Therapy Motivation Begins with Understanding their WHY

Why is your patient coming to physical therapy? Here is a list of reasons patients go to physical therapy:

  1. Because the doctor told him to go.
  2. Because he wants you to stop his pain.
  3. Because his wife is expecting him to go.
  4. Because his insurance is paying the bill.

Once you understand ‘WHY‘ your patient is coming to therapy you can start to understand their motivation.

2. Gamify the Experience

Gamification of anything increases compliance and improves client satisfaction. We used to offer a weekly drawing, like a lottery.

Every time you came to our clinic your name was entered to win for that week. You would only be eligible if you had 100% attendance based on your prescribed plan of care.

If you want the prize was usually a FREE lunch or gift basket. Patients would get a photo with the prize and that photo would hang until the next week’s drawing.

physical therapy motivation and gamification

3. Create an Unbreakable Streak

Some people are motivated by streaks. A streak might be walking every night after dinner or putting $5 in your savings account each day. As the streak grows it becomes increasingly difficult to break the streak. The streak has more value the longer it persists.

Help your patients create a streak and keep track of that streak so that they can enjoy protecting it. 

4. Variable Rewards

One of the most powerful elements of motivation and continuity is called variable rewards. Research suggests that when a reward becomes predictable it loses some of its power.

I love fishing and a major part of my love for fishing is the variable rewards. Some days I fish for hours and catch nothing. On other days I catch three fish in the first 30-minutes.

Then within each fish that I catch, some are big, some are small, some are edible, and some need to go back.

In the physical therapy clinic if you can vary the frequency and intensity of the reward you make it more appealing and increase physical therapy motivation. The reward might be manual therapy or a passive modality.