New Trends in Physical Therapy by Shane Larsen, AIA

Patients, once finished with rehabilitation, go home and are re-injured because they were confronted with different obstacles at home than while in the hospital. Not only is this burdensome on the patients, it also costs hospitals a re-admittance fee for failure to properly rehabilitate patients. This is becoming a hot topic within the physical therapy industry, and many physical therapists are seeking designers to create physical therapy environments to have the same look and feel as home.

Recovering from injuries has always been difficult, especially when patients begin to reengage with everyday life. Patients using traditional methods, such as stairs, rubber bands for resistance, treadmills, etc., are missing out on the everyday surfaces that they are required to master once they are discharged. Today, there are specific physical therapy locations that help patients adapt to their everyday life. This includes different textured flooring surfaces, which range from grass and concrete to tile and carpet.

This new trend in physical therapy helps patients practice entering a home or hooking up a garden hose safely, before they encounter theses obstacles when they return to their home. The new type of physical therapy even helps patients putt on a miniature golf green. It is exciting to see that the therapy provided has been modified to match the tasks of everyday life in addition to the traditional therapy as typically seen.

With reduced injuries, we can anticipate to see more creative therapy options being added including a grocery store/café-like area.  Today’s additional fees charged to hospitals for patient re-admittance will only fuel more locations to offer this real-life therapy.