Medical Fitness Professionals:
Where do you fit in the medical management team?
The medical community is now acknowledging the importance of exercise in the management of medical conditions. Though its been slowing coming this new acceptance of exercise will set the standard for new generations of physicians, nurses, physical therapists, chiropractors and other medical professionals. But the question remains….how does the medical fitness professional fit into the medical management team? How and where will the medical fitness professional have his or her skills utilized and what are they most effective at performing? Lets take a few moments and discuss how the medical fitness professional fits into the medical management team.
1. Medical fitness services should become the next logical step for 80 – 90% of patients discharged from physical therapy, chiropractic and other services related to the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiovascular disorders. Not every discharged patient needs or is suited for medical fitness services. Medical fitness services should become the next logical step in the client/patient’s rehabilitation process. Everyone knows that physical therapy and chiropractic work…but we need to heighten the level of awareness of exercise as a primary treatment modality. Exercise is the key to long-term management of most medical conditions. As more members of the community participate in medical fitness programs the level of awareness and acceptance of the medical fitness professional will grow.
2. There is a new fourth-level of care emerging. This level come after the acute, subacute and chronic phases…..the new level is ‘Functional Exercise Maintenance (FEM).’ This level of care uses exercise as the primary modality to maintain and/or improve client function and mobility after this discharge from medical care. This fourth-level of care will become more popular as our population ages and the baby-boomers reach retirement age. The Medical Exercise Specialist is best trained to manage this level of care and be the eyes and ears of the medical community. In this role the Medical Exercise Specialist will quickly demonstrate his or her worth to medical professionals as well as insurance carriers based client outcomes and health care savings.
3. The medical fitness professional (MFP) must clearly understand the professional role and scope of practice for every member of the medical management team as well as their own. It’s only recently, in the last 16 years that a specific title, scope of practice and role was introduced to the medical fitness community. The title and scope were introduced in 1994 with our development of the Medical Exercise Specialist certification. The scope of practice for the Medical Exercise Specialist includes the following items:
- Fitness assessments
- Strength training
- Cardiovascular training
- Flexibility training
- Functional Conditioning
- Aquatic Exercise
- Pilates Training
- Small Group-Based Exercise
- Wellness Education
This scope of practice is unique to the Medical Exercise Specialist. The scope of practice does not include any aspects of treatment. The MES needs to also review and/or consult the state practice acts for other disciplines such as physical therapy, chiropractic, medicine and/or nursing. This will avoid breaching the practice acts of other disciplines. Once the MES clearly understands his or her scope it becomes much easier to interact with other members of the medical management group and become a valuable part of the team.
4. The place where medical fitness services are provided and who provides them also allows the MFP to become part of the team. Medical fitness services are provided by personal trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, athletic trainers and kinesiologists. As MFP’s integrate with medical professionals the need for more programs and professionals will continue. Some of the professionals listed above are members of the medical community and will raise the awareness of medical fitness services for other medical professionals.
The place medical fitness services are provided will have a big impact on the awareness of the medical community. As more hospitals, chiropractic/physical therapy clinics implement medical fitness and post rehab programs the number of post-physical therapy clients referred to the medical fitness program will grow exponentially. This will further enhance the medical fitness professional’s acceptance as part of the medical management team.
5. The most compelling reason the medical fitness professional will become an integral part of the medical management team is simply……”Exercise is the key to long-term management of most medical conditions’. Exercise works to improve function, mobility, and avoid admission to extended nursing facilities. Using exercise to maintain function is the key to the growth, acceptance and integration of medical fitness services. Many of our MESs have clients repeated say…”if it weren’t for my exercise program I would be in a nursing home’. This is the most powerful statement and a validation of the positive functional outcomes that medical fitness programming can produce. These outcomes make sense for clients, for physicians, for family members, for insurance carriers, for Medicare and for our society. Exercise isn’t simply the key to long-term management of medical conditions…. it’s will become the treatment of choice for an graying society that wants to stay agile, energetic and productive.
Please join us Tuesday, September 20th at 6pm ET/3pm PT for Post Rehab Profit$ & Protocols when we discuss more success stories from our Medical Exercise Specialists and Post Rehab Conditioning Specialists around the world that have become part of the medical management team in their communities.
Click the link below to join the teleseminar: