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      National Rehabilitation Awareness Week | A Year-Round Focus

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      Sponsored by the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation (NRAF), National Rehabilitation Awareness Week is a campaign focused on the abilities and attributes of physical and mental health rehabilitation professionals, and the impact they make in people’s daily lives. 

      There’s a quantifiable reach for this recognition: over 50 percent of people living in the United States will require the services of a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech-language pathologist during their life. Most will need more than one.  

      The Significance of Rehabilitation 

      CNNMoney stated that there are few jobs that are so rewarding as physical therapy and occupational therapy. The publication has consistently ranked them as the top professions in America. Though the work can be emotionally and physically straining, the ultimate payoff is workdays filled with progress victories that their patients and clients experience. 

      Prominent areas of rehab include:  

      Physical Therapy – Centers on restoring and maintaining the patient’s physical abilities. They help those with disabilities or who have suffered an injury that hinders movement. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that physical therapists’ employment demand will increase by 39% during the decade, a rate the organization indicates is much higher than average. That’s largely predicated on baby boomers remaining active and living longer. They’re relying on PT services to support quality of life.  

      Occupational Therapy – Like physical therapy, American occupational therapists' work also concentrates on body movements. OT’s emphasis is on improving the client’s ability to adapt and perform everyday activities; the work of living a life. This treatment can help those who have pain, injury, illness, or disability. It enables people to acquire movement abilities to do their job or schoolwork, care for themselves, complete household chores, and participate in activities in their everyday lives. 

      Speech Therapy – Assists those who struggle with verbal communication disorder challenges through exercises. Speech and language pathology includes muscle strengthening, pronunciation enhancement, and corrective speech addressing fluency disorders. The Department of Education shows that speech, language, and hearing irregularities account for 20 percent of children in Special Education programs nationwide. 

      These therapies’ impact is expansive, as shown by these attention-arresting facts: 

      • Nearly 50 million Americans are disabled; most of whom would be substantially affected by rehabilitation treatment. 
      • For every $1 spent on rehab care, $11 is saved on long-term disability costs. 
      • Rehabilitation can give back a person’s independence, improving their quality of life and reducing subsequent illnesses. 
      • The individualization of rehab makes this treatment suitable for virtually all conditions, providing people struggling with debilitating conditions to receive help to function with daily activities.  

      For those providing the benefits, rehabilitation therapists utilize their deep knowledge of the human body. They often work with interdisciplinary teams, comprised of physicians, nurses, pain management professionals, and exercise specialists. Together, they provide a comprehensive plan for each person they treat. Rehab therapists are particularly valuable to the group, with the ability to be both reactive to existing conditions, and proactive to prevent injuries where risks are detected. 

      How to Raise Rehabilitation Capabilities Awareness 

      The Rehabilitation Awareness Week campaign spreads the word about what therapy professionals do to help those in need. It’s also a beneficial time to further build rehab businesses by reaching more prospective patients and clients who lack awareness of the services available to them today.  

      Here are a few appreciated approaches to inspire and grow, that can be used anytime throughout the year: 

      • Plan an open house that includes tours of the rehab facilities, free health screenings, and information on treatment available. Invite past patients to be a part of it, to tell their rehab stories to attendees. Utilize the practice’s website, social media, database newsletters, and local news media (contact the Features Editor) for event overviews and community invitations. Invite your referral partners to be involved, too. 
      • Host professional workshops and seminars providing a forum for rehabilitation specialists to highlight their services and raise awareness about therapies. Include staff to answer questions and schedule follow-up appointments. 
      • Partner with area businesses to hold safety presentations for their employees. Include content related to seeking therapy to prevent further damage to an existing condition.  
      • Ask patients if they would like to relay their rehab journey as a success story. To circulate their story, use the same media reach as with the open house concept.  
      • Take care of rehabilitation therapists. Use this week to show appreciation for those who impact rehab facilities and their patients. They are the backbone (no pun…) of any for-profit or nonprofit organization. Providing them with things they’ve mentioned that they would appreciate goes a long way to showing gratitude. Things like team social activity events, catered food, spa gift cards – anything from the heart is a heartfelt gesture of appreciation.

      Increasing Rehabilitation Services Capacity  

      With Rehab Awareness Week increasing visibility and resulting demand, how can a provider meet the growing service needs?  

      With this growing demand for accessible and sustainable treatment, PT, OT, and ST practitioners can fill the void effectively with their capabilities. The difficulty is capacity – how to treat more people while tending to full caseloads and a shrinking labor market?   

      Automating repetitive process activities is a tangible way to treat more patients and clients by increasing billable hours with existing staff, without burning them out. It also reduces administrative time and costs, minimizing operational errors. Billing revenue cycle time is improved, positively increasing cash flow.   

      Automating PT and OT functions, as well as speech needs, start with administrative patient management, session documentation, and reimbursement billing workflow. These are all functions of today’s Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems. These custom-configured systems also provide an enhanced patient, client, and caregiving family experience. They can conveniently interact with staff through a dedicated patient portal and digitally complete all documentation directly on the platform.  

      To see the capabilities of a PT, OT and ST-focused EHR, have a look.  

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