As a therapist, you are constantly playing the role of an educator – demonstrating to patients various techniques and educating them in the ways they can enhance their well-being. Many times, you are teaching patients these skills to aide them in their recovery or rehabilitation, but the knowledge you share might also be beneficial to someone who has not suffered from a stroke, disease or an injury. All too often, we wait until after a disease or accident has occurred to educate patients on lifestyle choices and modifications that might have prevented the disease or accident in the first place.
The recent healthcare debate has brought increased attention to the value of preventative care, and as a result, therapists are finding new opportunities to act as teacher and educator in their communities. Many therapists are being welcomed enthusiastically in community settings to share their expertise and clinical skills in an effort to increase awareness about exercise and wellness. It is easy and convenient to set up workshops; many corporations will even sponsor community education workshops.
Yoga studios will be a great avenue for partnering; and therapists can provide one-hour classes or seminars on different topics. Another excellent place for such programs is the local community fitness center. Many of these centers would like to have a therapist on call or on staff to provide counseling or lectures regularly. Some gyms might even consider making the facilities accessible for fitness programs for patients who have just come out of rehabilitation. Large corporations are realizing that they save more on insurance dues when they have fit and healthy employees working for them. As a result many large companies already have fitness centers and wellness counseling within office premises. They would certainly value the expertise of therapists who would enhance existing programs. Topics that may be covered range form information about the hazards of smoking, stroke and heart disease prevention, to developing healthier eating habits and the importance of regular exercise. Another way to implement therapy in the community is to have screening programs that will help early diagnosis of disease.
Disease prevention at all levels is both an individual and community responsibility. The best part about these programs is that they are convenient and easy to implement, and cost effective. With the current focus on preventative care, such programs will be well received. Such programs also bring variety into the workplace and break the monotony of a regular job. All of these are great reasons to take this step and help contribute to a movement that might just revolutionize your community’s wellness.