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Have you ever considered offering self-care to your patients? Patients, more than ever, want to play an active role in their care. Offering multiple solutions to your patient’s problem, including self-care, will improve long-term patient compliance and adherence to treatment plans. Self-care empowers each patient to decide what strategy is best for them at that specific time.

Check out this video for a couple of my personal opinions on this topic.

If a patient doesn’t understand their treatment journey or can’t see when it ends, they will quit. Patients who don’t come back to your office often don’t fully understand or agree with your treatment plan. Maybe it doesn’t make sense, or it’s not what they had in mind. The evidence supports offering self-care to eligible patients. It empowers each patient to decide what strategy is best for them at that time.  

Who Benefits From Self-Care?

 The Treatment-Based Classification System for Low Back Pain: Revision and Update supports triaging patients with LBP using 1 of 3 approaches: in-office care, physician-directed rehabilitation, or self-care management. (1)

Patients who are unlikely to develop disabling low back pain during their current episode (and don’t have severe pathology) will probably benefit from self-care. These patients have three commonalities.

  • Low levels of psychosocial distress
  • No or controlled comorbidities
  • Normal neuro exam

What Is Self-Care?

Eligible patients may be treated successfully with the proper patient education, reassurance, and diagnosis-specific advice related to their work and activity. At-home care should include education about the generally favorable prognosis for their condition plus recommendations on exercise, medication, work, and activity modifications. (2)

Here is an example that you can use in your office today!

Commentary

There is a cold, hard truth that many chiropractors don’t want to admit. If you’re going to change your practice, you have to change the way you practice.

1. Patients come to you for a simple solution to their problem. If the solution creates too much friction in their life, they will seek an alternate solution.  Friction includes time, money, and understanding of the problem or solution. Offering the best treatment plan to every patient is paramount to evidence-based practice, but consider these friction points each patient must overcome in your newly formed relationship.

2. Evidence-based chiropractic practices must offer a safe place for patients to fail. That’s right—A place to FAIL.  Of course, we would like to see all of our patients succeed in their care. However, most patients don’t succeed in their prescribed home rehabilitation and ADL modifications, and cannot remedy their painful condition by themselves. Patient-centered chiropractors must work with the patient to turn their care into a positive experience while not throwing each failure back in the patient’s face.

3. Many evidence-based chiropractors cringe when they hear about treating patients for their entire life. However, that should be the goal of every chiropractor. The caveat remains that you should not be treating that patient for the same diagnosis throughout their lifetime. The patient should feel confident in your ability to solve their problems as they arise throughout their lifetime, and to let them know when you can’t. Some diagnoses require in-office care, while others may respond to the right self-directed changes at home or work.

Are you ready to change the way YOU practice?

Empower your patients with ChiroUp’s resources like the ones in this blog!

References
  1. Therapy, P. (2015). The Treatment-Based Classification System for Low Back Pain : Revision and Update, (December).
  2. Hill JC, Whitehurst DG, Lewis M, et al. Comparison of stratified primary care management for low back pain with current best practice (STarT Back): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2011; 378:1560–1571.

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