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The recent passage of 'Health Care Reform' here in the US caused great controversy and has created a huge divide in our nation. As I watched the debate unfold and listened to both sides its occurred to me…..Medical Exercise Specialists, Post Rehab Conditioning Specialists and Medical Exercise Program Directors and other post rehab professionals really hold to key to the ultimate success of health care reform. So you ask…how can post rehab professionals save the health care system?

I have said for years 'Exercise is the key to long term management of most medical conditions'. Whether its diabetes, a stroke and a total joint replacement…exercise is key in maintaining function and movement. Function and movement are the keys for human life. Post rehab professionals are ideally suited to help clients with medical conditions maintain their levels of function, strength, endurance, balance, power, coordination. proprioception and flexibility after the physical therapy, chiropractic and medical treatment are over. Someone has to fill this void. The POST REHAB PROFESSIONAL IS THE ANSWER!! This void if filled…will allow our health care system to make the shift from managing disease to enhancing health and promoting prevention.

How will post rehab professionals do this? By freeing physicians, physical therapists, nurses and chiropractors to manage the patients with disease and acute/subacute disorders. Lets face it…many patients with chronic disorders such as arthritis, fibromyalgia and diabetes simply need a good structured exercise program to eliminate the 'residual functional deficits' found after discharge. The MES, PRCS or MEPD can take this client (notice the shift in terminology from patient to client) and develop a safe and effective program. This program will: 

  1. Reduce the possibility of re-injury
  2. Eliminate or reduce  residual functional deficits
  3. Educate the client on the keys to establishing a health lifestyle
  4. Maintain or improve functional capacity for ADL's

Do these items require the attention of a physical therapist or chiropractic if the client has no radiating pain, no swelling, greater than fair strength, stable balance and medical clearance from their physician…..NO!! This is the ideal client for the post rehab professional. This frees the therapists, chiropractors, physicians and nurses to manage patients with serious medical issues that need the attention of licensed medical professionals.

As you can see….post rehab professionals are the missing link in the health care reform model. I urge MES', PRCS' and MEPD's to start letting medical professionals in your community know your unique skills in developing safe and effective programs for wide range of clients. Every medical professional out there needs you as well as every patient discharged from physical therapy and/or chiropractic care!! I strongly encourage you to approach the medical professionals in your community with fitness strategies that will help them better manage their patients with chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, low back pain, etc. As a post rehab professional you are the first line and last line of defense in health care reform. My next post I will discuss how post rehab programming can help medical professionals manage their patients.

Dr Mike

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