For this week’s challenge I want to look at how we slip into the tendency of glossing over the successes that our patients achieve during their treatment.

Turn on CC to get closed captioning and watch the video without sound.

Along the rehab journey, we work with our patients to achieve certain milestones. Whether that’s ROM, strength, returning to certain activities or sports. Because we’re a goal-oriented bunch, it’s easy to tell the patient that they’ve reached milestone, but then move right on to the next task at hand. By the end of the session, the patient may already have forgotten about what they achieved and be focused on the next thing that needs to be fixed. 

As therapists, I believe we have an opportunity to slow things down during a treatment session and create a space to celebrate that success with the patient in a way that allows them to internalize it. How we do that with patients will vary based on the patient and our connection with them. 

But here are a few ways to help elevate that success celebration with the patient. 

  • First off, we can stop what we’re doing with our testing or treatment and just face and connect with the patient as we share the success we see. 
  • And then ask them how it feels. This can give the patient an opportunity to process things and gives you an opportunity to listen.
  • Reiterating the success at the end of the session can be another way to avoid the communication getting lost during the middle of a session. 

You can also reinforce the achievement with something outside of the treatment time, by sending them a quick email or a handwritten note with a short message of encouragement. 

So here’s the challenge for this week. When your patient achieves a certain milestone, whether that’s a target ROM or strength goal or achieving the ability to do a certain activity of daily living, take a moment and pause. Create a mini space to celebrate. Let the patient know that it’s important to you and to them. 

Question for you: Do you create a space to celebrate your patient's success?  

I hope you enjoyed this little challenge. Stay tuned for next week where I'm going to share another tip and challenge to help you connect with your patients and build your caseload. 

If you're a Canadian physiotherapist, then make sure to join ignitephysio to get access to future caseload building tips. If you're outside of Canada, you can stay up-to-date with new caseload building tips and resources by visiting here