#PTonICE Daily Show – Wednesday, February 14th, 2024 – The fitness-forward discharge

In today’s episode of the PT on ICE Daily Show, join Modern Management of the Older Adult division leader Dustin Jones as he discusses what it looks like to discharge as a fitness-forward clinician. In this episode, we’ll cover the do’s & don’ts to discharging and even challenge the whole notion of discharge itself.

Take a listen to learn how to better serve this population of patients & athletes, or check out the full show notes on our blog at www.ptonice.com/blog.

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Welcome y’all to the PT on Ice daily show. My name is Dustin Jones, one of the lead faculty within the older adult division. And today we are gonna be talking about the fitness forward discharge, the fitness forward discharge, how we can set our patients up for that fitness forward lifestyle once they leave our doors, all right? So before we dive into this conversation, I wanna start by really saying that the whole concept or notion of the discharge as we know it, traditionally, really needs to be challenged, right? The whole concept of, I’m gonna see this person for six to eight weeks, and then I’m gonna have no contact with that person whatsoever, and then cross my fingers and hope that that person will hopefully come back if they do have issues down the road, right? Hopefully, we see some of the issues with that. Hopefully, we can see the problem with bragging about how few visits it takes for you to get particular results, right? It’s like we’ve created this badge of honor for how little that we’re seeing people. And if you spend any time around the Institute of Clinical Excellence at any of our courses, you start to see what you have to offer people. Why in the world would someone like you, a fitness-forward trained clinician, want to be around someone less. You have so many valuable skills. You have such an amazing influence. Your be a valid approach, this fitness for lifestyle that you lead and can ultimately give to your patients. Why would you not want to rub shoulders with these folks that you can absolutely change their lives, right? So the whole notion of discharge, I really want to challenge. I think the Onward Physical Therapy crew is doing such a good job with this with their Restore and Perform program where they will have patients and they will transition to more of a maintenance type situation. I know many of you all watching have similar services where they may come off of quote-unquote physical therapy but you’re still getting those touch points to change their lives. That is really, really good. What I want to speak to today in terms of the Fitness Forward Challenge is for many folks that are working with individuals and patients that do not partake in fitness, that these folks are not a part of a fitness community and you’re going to work with this person and we need to set them up for success after your course of care. How do we handle those situations? I know for The vast majority of you all watching and listening, that is the case. I can say that for myself, definitely in the context of home health where I’ve spent most of my time. clinically, but now I’m on the other end of the equation where I am mainly in the fitness space at Stronger Life Fitness in Lexington, Kentucky. So I’ve really enjoyed experiencing what it’s like to get people into our fitness community from different clinicians and what clinicians have done really well to set them up for success, but also what they’ve done really poorly that’s made our job really difficult. And I think about all the folks that even come into our doors because of something that happened in that course of care. All right, so the fitness forward discharge for you clinicians that are working with folks that do not partake in fitness right now. We’re gonna dive into some practical things. I want you to think of this in three steps.
All right, number one is that we start with the end in mind. Number two is we prepare for what’s ahead. And number three, we test the plan. All right, I’m gonna dive into some specifics. within those three chunks.

So number one, starting with the end in mind. Many of us will hear this saying all the time, especially when you are in a more acute setting like acute care clinicians, right? As soon as they do their eval, they’re planning their discharge, right? That is For many of them, the goal is that, all right, what’s the discharge disposition so we can get this person to a place where they can receive care? And I think that’s a good mindset for us to have across the continuum of healthcare. Discharge planning starts day one. Where is this person headed? where are we taking this individual? Now, for you all, the fitness forward clinician, the question that we often ask ourselves, but ultimately ask the patient or the client, is how fit will you let me get you, right? Betty comes to you for her back, her back pain, and we’re gonna take care of that back pain for sure, but ultimately we don’t wanna stop there, right? We change lives, not just pain. We’re gonna see how fit we can get Betty ultimately in her one rep max living and help her live the fullest life that she can imagine right that goes beyond pain reduction techniques right so how fit will you let me get you now what is really important when we start thinking about the next step after our course of care when we’re discharge planning and starting on day one we need to consider what this person is going to be willing to start and but then also sustain in terms of a fitness routine. What they’re willing to start and then sustain. And I would say the latter is more important. It’s easy to start something, it’s tough to sustain it for months, years on end. So this is where we really need to spend a lot of time understanding this person’s goals, their desires, their deep desires of what they want to be able to do. What keeps them up the night? What would they want to be doing if they had no pain whatsoever? And then match the fitness regimen that could ultimately make that happen, right? And with that, we have to consider so many factors, like personal preferences. past experiences, their perceptions of certain communities or fitness modalities. What’s their financial situation? What do they have available to them to help offset some of the financial barriers? If someone is on Medicare or have a Medicare Advantage plan, there’s lots of things available to help reduce the cost of fitness services. Where are they located, right? Location is such a huge variable in the adherence and consistency of an exercise program when someone is leaving their home to partake in fitness. It’s a lot easier for someone to go around the corner as opposed to driving across town, right? And what social support, what resources does this person have? We need to take all of these into consideration and that is going to form our recommendation of where we are headed and we can set that out very early on in the process. So for the outpatient clinician, many of you all watching, many of you all are probably a part of some type of CrossFit community or CrossFit box, right? And you may be treating some patients in the outpatient setting where that transition may make a lot of sense. They may be familiar with it. They may not have a lot of baggage associated with that brand or that gym, that CrossFit box. And that transition can be relatively easy for you. And that’s a no-brainer for many of you all. But for a lot of folks watching and listening, they have patients that are likely never going to step foot in a CrossFit gym. And I would go as far to say that CrossFit gym is not the best place to serve some folks, right? I know that’s blasphemous on this podcast, but the local CrossFit box may not be suitable for every single person that you’re working with as a physical therapist. So we need to understand, are there communities out there that can meet this person where they’re at and help them make this a sustainable long-term fitness routine? and for the home health clinicians watching. Is there something that could be done for someone that is currently a homebound status? Is there some type of online community? Is there some type of online service or some type of YouTube channel, for example, that someone could partake in and consume that’s going to be suitable for their situation? You cannot make these recommendations without truly understanding the person sitting in front of you. So we have to dig in. What are they willing to start and then what are they willing to sustain? Now, this is going to require some work, right? You need to know the communities out in your area, of the differences of them, of how some may be more suitable or welcoming to other groups of people. there’s gonna be big differences there. You need to understand what services are available online to folks that may not be able to get out, what services are available that are willing to accept some of these Medicare Advantage plans or Silver Sneakers or Renew Active if they’re on United Advantage, for example. So we need to do some work so you can make some of those recommendations. If you’re like, what in the hell is he talking about? Hit me up or join the MMoA community where we have a lot of these discussions and we have a really helpful resource of where clinicians threw in some of their favorite YouTube channels, for example, and different resources that they help encourage that fitness-forward lifestyle beyond discharge. But there’s options out there. We can do the hard work for you. Hit me up, DM me, and I’d love to share some of those resources. So that’s the first one. Start with the end in mind.

Two, we prepare for what’s ahead. So we start with the end in mind and then we prepare for what’s ahead. When we start with the end in mind, we get a good idea of maybe what type of fitness regimen, what type of fitness community is gonna be good for this person so they can sustain and continue their health journey, right? If we understand what that community and that regimen is about, we can prepare that person for said regimen in our course of care. And I view this kind of like graded exposure. or gradual exposure, where we’re gradually exposing people to elements of that fitness community or fitness regimen. Let’s take CrossFit, for example. Let’s say you have a patient that has never done CrossFit and they have agreed, yeah, I’m going to join that community down the street once we’re done. That’s really interesting to me. You can do that person a solid by exposing them to some of the CrossFit movements, of some of the movements that you’re commonly going to see in the programming. getting a barbell in their hand, teaching them some of the basics of a squat, a deadlift, a press, and then maybe even getting to Olympic lifting. Expose them to those movements to reduce that new member suck, right? We’ve all experienced it. There are some benefits to the suckiness of being new and not knowing a lot about what’s going on in the community. I do want to acknowledge that, but man, it’s really nice if you come into a community having a little bit of familiarity with some of these movements and jargon and so on and so forth. So we want to gradually expose them to the movements that are going to be coming down the pike. We also want to expose them to the intensity that they’re going to see. This can also be new for a lot of individuals, particularly going into something like a CrossFit gym or some high intensity interval training bootcamps type fitness community, that if these folks have not experienced true intensity, we can do that in the course of our care and expose them to that so they’re not blindsided when they join this fitness community. We would also argue within the MOA division that you want to do that regardless to get better outcomes, keep in mind. But when we also think about that fitness forward discharge, this is really, really helpful to do. So gradual exposure to that intensity that they’re likely going to experience and then gradual exposure to the movements that they’re likely going to see. The beautiful thing about this is it reduces that new member suck when you’re partaking of something for the first time. But for a lot of our folks, it often gives them trust in their bodies, that they can trust their body again. Think of what so many of these folks have been through, especially the older adult population that I particularly work with. We’re talking decades of different healthcare interactions, maybe a dozen courses of care in the context of physical therapy, who knows how many surgeries, who knows how many diagnoses that were given without context, who knows how many damaging words have been said to this person where they believe that they are weak, fragile, slow, that they are broken pieces. We have the opportunity to show them that is not the case. That is not the case whatsoever. You can trust your body again and you can push your body again and your body can improve and get better and you can do things that you thought were absolutely impossible. You can show people that through this gradual exposure. So that’s how we wanna prepare, that gradual exposure to intensity and movements. Number two, we also want to give people a plan to troubleshoot the difficult scenarios that are going to come up, right? Jeff Moore always says this, and I love this, where he will talk about the path to fitness is always gonna run through some musculoskeletal issues, right? And this is where we are such a huge service for individuals, that we, throughout our course of care, can give people a plan to be able to troubleshoot what is ahead, what is common, the question of hurt versus harm. When am I doing damage versus when a little bit of discomfort is okay? Maybe giving them something like the traffic light analogy where, you know, that zero to three out of 10 is kind of that green light. Still send it, you’re good. But if that lingers on to, you know, that four, five, six range, that’s kind of in the yellow. We need to start thinking about modifying. We’re still moving, right? And then, you know, that seven, eight, nine, 10, where we’re in kind of that red light, where we’re thinking, still need to keep moving but I may need to go come back and see you physical therapist or PTA or whoever you are so that strategy of if this than that so they understand the difference between hurt versus harm and when they need to come back to see you can be very very helpful another one particularly in a population that’s not used to exercising is DOMPS. For many of you all you don’t even remember what it was like the first time you felt delayed onset muscle soreness if you’ve been exercising regularly but for someone new it’s a very frightening thing when they do something that they perceive is going to be beneficial and helpful for them and then they try to get out of bed the next day or the day after and they’re absolutely miserable. a lot of things can go in your head of what may not be helpful or beneficial about what you did that caused so much discomfort and so you can give them context. I’ve made this mistake way too often where I did not give context to delayed onset muscle soreness and it really comes back to bite you. You can lose that that clip that trust of the patient but ultimately we want to give them the ability to handle kind of the ups and the downs to understand hurt versus harm, to understand DOMS and what to actually do about it, and ultimately, when they really need to come back to you versus continuing on in their fitness regimen or community. Alright? So, number one, start with the end in mind. Number two, prepare for what’s ahead.

And then last but not least, and where most people really drop the ball, is we test the plan. we test the plan during our course of care. So as the course of care is winding down, we may be kind of reducing some of the focus on pain reduction and thinking more about building physical capacity. We’re starting to stress test this person, of how they’re handling what we know they’re gonna experience down the road, right? This is where Alex Germano, she’s watching here, but she has said before that we need to make PT sweaty again. And I absolutely love that phrase, and I feel like that is very, very pertinent throughout the whole course of GARE, but particularly for this phase. That last few weeks where we’re stress testing our plan of care, where we’re getting people sweaty in PT, seeing how they respond. These folks, we also, during that transition, want some overlap where they’re actually partaking in that fitness regimen or a part of that fitness community. When we still have those regular touch points and we’re able to handle some of the ups and the downs and what may come and answer some questions and just make sure this person is well prepared while they’re under our care, that makes it very, very easy for them to continue and make this a sustainable effort. So we want to test the plan. stress test them in your session. Make PT sweaty again. And there’s usually kind of a turning point that you’ll see, particularly in Jerry PT, Jerry OT. And sometimes it happens sooner, right? If you really push intensity and your sessions are very challenging and it kind of catches them by surprise. But at the latest, this should happen. during this test the plan phase and what typically happens you got bob that’s been coming in bob good old boy wearing his wranglers tucked in button up got a big old leather belt probably has some 30 year old fry cowboy boots rolling in here He’s getting after it, just sweating his rear end off during your sessions. Then the next session comes around. What’s Bob wearing? Bob’s probably still wearing his boots, his fry boots. He’s probably still wearing his button up, but he swapped out the Wranglers for some Fruit of the Loom sweatpants. still tucking the shirt in, the hem’s probably right around his belly button, you know, that waistline area for them. He has seen, oh my gosh, this is not, quote unquote, physical therapy or occupational therapy. I’m going here to work out. We’re getting sweaty, right? We’re stress testing Bob, and he changed his outfit as a result. I cannot tell you how many times this has happened in the context of even home health, but then outpatient, and we definitely see this in the context of fitness. as well, but we want to try and see that. We want to stress test for if something bad happens, if they have some type of flare-up, for example, if they have some type of questions, we can handle it within our course of care. And ultimately, you’re allowing a little bit of overlap where you’re still seeing this person, but they’re transitioning to that fitness community. That is what a fitness forward discharge looks like. We start with the end in mind. We’re thinking about where this person is going. How fit are you going to let me get you and where are you going to end up? Whether it’s a fitness community, whether they’re doing something at home, whatever fits their particular needs, we start there. Number two, we prepare them for what is ahead. We make them familiar with the intensity, the movements that they’re going to experience and we help them troubleshoot the challenging scenarios that are going to happen. DOMS, hurt versus harm. When should I seek care? when is it okay, when do I need to modify what I’m doing, right? Then number three, we test the plan. We stress test them while we have them in our course of care, while we’re regularly seeing them. They may even already be starting that fitness program or fitness regimen. We’re able to handle the bumps that come with that and really set them up for success as they continue forward. The fitness forward discharge. I appreciate y’all listening.

Before you go, I want to mention MMOA courses. We’ve got a bunch of stuff lined up for 2024. If you want to see us on the road, I want to highlight a few weekends that are coming up. February 17th, 18th, this upcoming weekend we’re in Oklahoma City, so catch that if you’re in that area. March 2nd and 3rd, we’ve got Tripleheader. We’re going to be in Rome, Georgia, Halifax, Canada, Glencoe, Maryland. We also have our Level 1 and Level 2 online courses. Our Level 1 course is going to be starting March 13th. We’d love to see you on that. Appreciate y’all. Have a lovely rest of your Wednesday. Go Crutchets!

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