Medical Exercise Specialists are seeing clients with more weakness and functional limitations. This is not the fault of physical or occupational therapy, its the changes in insurance reimbursement for rehabilitation. Clients are discharged sooner. As a result the medical exercise professional is seeing clients with greater ‘residual functional deficits”. These deficits limit client function and are the primary reason for the growth in medical exercise training since 1994 when we offered the first Medical Exercise Specialist workshop and certification.
The job of the Medical Exercise Specialist is shifting to identifying and then developing an exercise program to improve these “residual functional deficits”. These deficits may be in range of motion, strength, endurance, balance, power, etc. The function wheel below identifies the key components of function. Your job as the medical exercise professional is to deal with these deficits. The focus on identifying and then managing these “residual functional deficits” will become a priority for medical exercise professionals as the baby boomers and those with chronic medical conditions begin to overwhelm the health care system. The ability to identify and manage these conditions with exercise in conjunction with medical care will increase.