Well I am almost 3 weeks status post my hip surgery and I am swamped in my home exercise program. This post surgery protocol is almost a full time job. I am lucky that I am able to devote the time to completing it because I’m not able to do patient care currently and my admin work allows for flexible hours. I don’t know how I would complete it without this luxury of a flexible work schedule. As a PT I understand a lot of what they want me to do but even still I needed to create a chart (see photo above) so that I could understand and follow the complex information they gave me and make sure I completed the correct exercises and progressed them appropriately each week. Again, a bit ridiculous I think.
I know that as a PT I have given many home exercise programs, or suggestions of things for families to work on with their children. I try to make sure that I also provide them with ways to fit it into their lifestyle because a home exercise program is only good if it is completed. It doesn’t matter if I have created the doctoral dissertation of all home exercise programs because if it doesn’t get done its just a waste of paper and time. I contributed to another blog where I talked about my thoughts on home exercise programs and how to make them effective for families. I thought I would take a moment and make some suggestions now based on my new found personal experience. My thoughts are still the same but I have found some ideas for maybe making sure it gets completed.
- Figure out how much time you can devote to physical therapy exercises each day or week and share it with your therapist so they can help to select the priority for exercises/activities you should focus on
- Let your therapist know what your other therapies are giving you for ‘homework’ because there may be overlap and you can ‘kill 2 birds with 1 stone’
- As ridiculous as it sounds make a chart for each week so you can check things off. Put the chart in a place where you will see it so it will be a reminder of what you need to do. (I love charts and lists because I love checking and crossing off) For older kids you can use sticker charts so they buy into practicing the things they need to work on. I talk about ways to motivate kids in another blog post I did.
- Make it a part of your day as best as you can. There are many things that therapists give you to work on that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. In my case, in a few weeks I am going to need to start standing on one leg (my surgical leg) and what I will do is stand on one foot while brushing my teeth, doing the dishes and other opportunities like that. Ask your therapist for ways you can include their exercises into day to day activities, usually they’ll surprise you with what they can come up with.
- Ask why. I know for myself I am more likely to do something if I understand why I am doing it. Believe me, I woke up this morning and didn’t want to do my exercises. I gave myself a figurative kick in the behind and reminded myself that I had this surgery for a reason and I wanted it to be a success and that these exercises were getting me one step closer to having a hip that worked correctly again. If you aren’t sure why your therapist is suggesting an exercise or an activity as them why they are recommending it, we usually have a good reason for the things we do and its good to make us explain it every once in a while!
I would love to hear other suggestions people have for making home exercise programs compliance more likely whether you are a therapist or a parent or a patient yourself. I love new ideas and maybe even some motivation for myself! (Luckily I have had the Olympics to keep me occupied during this time and provide motivation for doing my exercises as well)