In a traditional physical therapy model of care, the patient first meets with a physical therapist for initial intake and evaluation. This initial meeting includes range of motion measurements, functional mobility, balance, and possibly neurological screening tests depending on the area of injury. During this examination, the physical therapist will provide clear instructions on what to do for exercises and what to expect from the treatment plan. Most treatment plans span an average of six to twelve weeks. After this initial intake, patients are then handed off to staff, physical therapy assistants, trainers, or aides that are working on their patient care skills. The PTAs will monitor the patient’s workouts and the PT will occasionally check in on their progress. This is to keep productivity levels up in the clinic and see as many patients as possible per day.

In the one-on-one physical therapy model of care, patients are given private and individualized treatment from a physical therapist. This model emphasizes direct interaction with the same physical therapist for the duration of the treatment plan. Instead of a typical clinic where therapists are distracted by trying to see as many patients as possible, in this type of setting patients get individual attention for the duration of their 45 minute – 1-hour session. There is a myriad of benefits to one-on-one therapy with a knowledgeable and experienced PT. Below we will explore some of the benefits:

Individualized care and attention

Custom treatment plans designed by a physical therapist allow patients to set their own goals for recovery and helps mitigate their expectations for recovery. The individual attention to each patient allows for the necessary quality time to demonstrate each workout thoroughly and modify exercises as the patient develops. Observing the patient in-action while they are completing their exercises gives the PT a more accurate idea of how long the patient will take to recover and what type of exercises they should be continuing at home. Telehealth platforms, like AC Health, help PTs continue to monitor and encourage their patient’s progress after they have left the clinic. Instead of juggling multiple patients an hour, this focused attention provides patients with the care and attention their pain deserves.

Manual therapy

Manual therapy is a specialized hands-on therapy where the physical therapist creates passive movement of the soft tissue and joints. There are two categories of manual therapy; manipulation and soft tissue work. This is a type of therapy that aides and assistants should not be providing (except maybe under direct PT supervision) because they don’t have the proper training nor experience needed. The benefit of one-on-one therapy is that the physical therapist can see where there is a limited range of motion or a pain point for the patient and directly address that area with manual therapy.

Able to focus on the patient as a whole

There are fewer distractions for the PT in personalized care and there is not as much of a need to ‘catch up’ with the patient’s progress because the PTs are there during the in-clinic therapy and exercises. The physical therapist can assess the patient and their pain from a whole-body perspective rather than just focusing on their pain point due to time constraints. This whole-body approach focuses on the root cause of pain to relieve symptoms and prevent future injury. It is important to address immediate symptoms but for long term health, it is crucial to examine the underlying cause of pain. This requires more time than a physical therapist typically spends with a patient in the traditional model.

Improve the relationship between PT and patient

A good relationship between a physical therapist and their patient is key in patient engagement and the healing of the injury. A healthy relationship and good rapport also builds trust and helps the patient gain a better understanding of the physical therapy process. This is crucial for patient recovery, if patients do not feel a connection to their therapists, they may be less motivated to continue workouts and can hide things from their therapists that could lead to further injury in the future.

Reduce the number of sessions needed

Everybody and every injury is unique and deserves individualized care. Receiving high-quality one-on-one care with an individualized plan and attention from a licensed physical therapist can reduce the number of therapy sessions needed for a patient. One-on-one sessions with continued care through patient engagement systems like AC Health assures that the patient is doing the right exercises in the correct way which can drastically reduce the amount of PT sessions needed because the patient is staying engaged and consistent with their workouts.

Better for the physical therapists too!

The above-listed benefits of one-on-one therapy are mainly patient-focused, but they all benefit physical therapists as well. Most physical therapists got into their career field because they care about patients and want to help them manage and improve their pain areas. Improving pain improves the quality of life for patients and this can have a major impact on them. Individualized care allows therapists to spend more time with their patients and see their progress rather than relying on information from aids or assistants. A natural continuation of one-on-one therapy is personalized at home communication with the patient, this can be achieved by using AC-Health to set customized reminders that increase patient engagement and improve recovery time.

The physical therapy models of care will continue to innovate and improve as time goes on and what was once traditional will be replaced. One-on-one therapy provides individualized, high-quality level of care while focusing on the patient with a whole-body approach to their injury. It can reduce the number of sessions needed and improve the relationship between therapist and patient. Health care providers pride themselves on providing the best available care and this type of PT allows them to build a close relationship with their patients and track their progress. Patient engagement platforms like AC Health can help close the patient access gap outside of the clinic and continue a patient’s personalized therapy plan.