The National Prevention Strategy
Have you heard about this strategy
? It was publicized in a two-paragraph press release by the APTA when it emerged back in April 2012. Did you know there was a National Public Health Week?
If you read it, did you follow the links to see what it was all about? Which national strategies relate to physical therapy? There are actually a few. Do you know what impact you or your practice could have on some of the national indicators for prevention? Have a look.
There are three levels of care -- primary, secondary and tertiary. Rehabilitation, as the word suggests, is part of tertiary care. It's all about fixing something after a disease process or injury has run its course. Sometimes physical therapists venture into secondary care, treating a disease process like arthritis or COPD in its early stages to minimize impact. Why are we so rarely involved in primary care or prevention of disease? Is it simply habit, or is it that there's no money in it? Is that what we delegate to the athletic or personal trainers and chiropractors because it's not "rehab?"
I'd like to venture that as a profession, to virtually ignore prevention is like shooting ourselves in the foot. We have the opportunity to make an impact on a national level. On the individual level, we have the chance to impress on potential patients the level of our expertise and retain clients for the long term.
Some therapists have written impressive articles about PT and global health or blogged about our potential role in preventing firearm injuries. These discussions challenge our status quo, our beliefs and our willingness to venture into areas we may have previously not approached. They also broaden our horizons, our impact and gain us recognition as even more than musculoskeletal experts.