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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Seasons of Change

Published June 18, 2012 4:35 PM by Jon Bassett
As a health care writer, it's always a bit harder to contact potential interview sources and photo subjects this time of year. The school and sports seasons are over, people scatter, and weekends fill up with commitments fast. Scheduling on-site visits and phone interviews can be a bit more challenging, and even scheduling meetings requires a check to see who will be in the office and who will be on vacation.

Which got me thinking, how does the beginning of summer affect physical therapists? Depending on your geographic location and patient population, is there a palpable difference between May and June where you work? Do you notice a change in patient load one way or the other?

A 2007 study in the journal Injury by Deakin et al. chronicled childhood fractures requiring inpatient management and found that fracture incidence spiked during the summer months. Do you see more patients with traumatic and contact injuries this time of year? How do you prepare?

And how about the attitude of your patients themselves? Does your cancellation rate rise and do patients become more complacent in their therapy routines when weekends are spent at the beach or in the mountains?

Finally, how about yourself? Do you have any vacations planned in the coming weeks, and does this make it easier or harder to focus on your work? Is staffing an issue as colleagues head off to far-flung vacation destinations?


Summer holidays for students are only 6 weeks here in the UK. From July through mid-August staffing is stretched as mums take time off, but patient demand is less. Everyone tries to go abroad during this period. What then happens is we get slammed with referrals in late August/early September when everyone gets back from Spain (England's Florida).

Dean Metz June 18, 2012 5:13 PM

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