Welcome back to a traditional blog post! It has been some time since I posted one of these. Most of my writing lately has been dedicated to our Wellness Wednesday tips and #WellfieWednesday initiative. This is a topic that has undoubtedly been touched on a number of times, but I felt it necessary to bring it up again.
We cannot do it alone. We cannot change population health with the unique skill set of a physical therapist or any single healthcare professional for that matter. We need a more collaborative team approach when it comes to preventing chronic disease. If you’re a PT trying to offer preventative wellness services but have no RDN (registered dietitian nutritionist) on speed dial, or vice versa, you’re doing it wrong; you’re not offering your patient or client a well-rounded approach to their care.
Physical therapists may have the skills to help prevent, from the standpoint of exercise benefits and quality movement, but lack extensive dietary knowledge and the ability to offer nutritional counseling. Dietitians possess the nutritional component to educate healthy eating but lack the skills of promoting appropriate movement patterns and exercise prescription. Hell, even I, the one trying to juggle both of these amazingly beneficial professions, will not have everything needed to prevent. No one person has it all unless of course, you have MD, PT, OT, RDN, PhD, etc. after your name. And if that is the case, props to you, please share how you keep up with all those licenses and what your con-ed looks like.
We need a preventative model with multiple disciplines on board, making an array of services available to an individual if they need them. Now remember every person lives in a world of different circumstances. One person may be eating healthy but not moving enough, while another is getting adequate exercise but eats like crap, and a third requiring extensive behavioral change due to struggles with both. Specialties specialize for a reason, so take advantage. Now I’m not saying everyone needs a team of six to prevent the onset of diabetes or cardiovascular disease, but they should have the option if their health disparities call for it.
However, on the flip side. If education was done right and done early, we wouldn’t need a huge team of people trying to play catch up. And that is where change needs to occur. Just something else to chew on and indeed requires a post in itself.
Thanks for reading and enjoy your week!
- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT