Barry Schaffer stresses that a patient doesn’t need to work with the first physical therapist he or she meets. It is important to feel comfortable with who you are going to be working with. The relationship between the patient and physical therapist must be strong to achieve a successful outcome. Patients need to find a physical therapist that will push and challenge them. To be happy with the outcome of a patient’s surgery depends on understanding what the recovery process will be like. If a patient knows what they are getting themselves into he or she can be mentally prepared which will motivate he or she to work as hard as they can.
BARRY: I think one of the important things for patients to understand, is that the first the therapist you get doesn't have to be the therapist you get. If you don't gel with your therapist, you need to say something as the patient, and you need to get a therapist that you gel with. I think patients feel like they're stuck with who they're stuck with. You have choices and you have rights. One of the things I've always said to my patients, or said in the clinic is: If I'm bored, me as a therapist, I can't imagine how bored my patients must be. I try and add a little energy into the clinic. I try and inflict a little fun. I try and keep things fun. I try and keep things moving, never do the same thing twice. So, if we started balancing on uneven surfaces with two feet, maybe in a week we're on one foot. And if we started on one foot, you've got to hold on to something, maybe I put you in the middle of the room and I stop letting you hold on to something. So, I'm always pushing the envelope with the patient to get better. That's what we're looking for. That should be our job, is to demonstrate to the patient and work with them on understanding where they are going functionally and how that relates to their life and safety and function.
BARRY: So, I think the most important thing is understanding what you're getting yourself into, and by that, you need to understand what you can do to improve yourself pre-operatively. What the post-operative first two weeks is going to look like, and then what the next three months may look like. Sometimes, more so for total knees because of the c-the-the other things that go along with that that don't go along with total hips sometimes in rehab, but if you have that mental preparation and you're motivated, and you understand all that, and you know what it's going to take within you to get back to where you want to be, and to get that function back, you're going to have a great outcome. If you go to therapy, you need to find a therapist that you gel with. You need to find a therapist that respects you; that you respect him or her. And that you feel like that is the individual who can take me to where I want to be and get me to my goals. That is going to be the key to success, because with that rapport you can have an open dialogue on "is this pain right?" Am I progressing? Where am I need to be in two weeks? With all that good [dial in?]... All the time you're going to spend with your physical therapist, you need to have that rapport. And they'll be able to guide you through what is good, and all of the good things that come about as you put in the hard work. But don't underestimate how hard the work it. It is not easy. It is not fun. It doesn't come without pain and discomfort, but the harder you work and you stay in line with your therapist, the end game always, always great. I have never seen a-a patient who hasn't come back to me and says "I can't believe I waited this long."