We Need More Physical Therapists Today – Here’s Why
Amid the unparalleled demand for healthcare workers, physical therapists (PTs) have emerged as some of the most vital. In fact, according to recent statistics on the physical therapist job market, this career has a growth increase of 21%. This is much faster than the average job growth in most of the other sectors. But why have PTs emerged as some of the most in-demand healthcare workers today? Here are some reasons why:
More patients are recovering from illness
Defined as therapists who can help ill or injured patients manage pain and improve mobility, PTs have become the cornerstone of recovery for millions. Given the recent COVID-19 pandemic, countless people have been experiencing physical challenges that require rehabilitation. Since the litany of COVID-19’s long-standing symptoms is known to cause long bouts of inactivity, many doctors recommend that patients work with PTs to slowly get them back up to form. Since PTs are experts in monitoring heart rate, breathing, and movement, even patients who have long been tested negative for COVID can find their expertise critical in safely incorporating more physical exertion. As recently as 2021, when positive cases and fatalities were already decreasing, the average physical therapy clinic still saw an average of 101 to 200 patients weekly. This totaled to about 300 million PT sessions by the end of the year.
Need for PT in telehealth platforms
Aside from this, more PTs are also needed to assuage the demand on the telehealth side of therapy. Until a few years ago, most PT sessions were typically done in person. Today, though, thanks to the continued popularity of telehealth, many patients have come to expect online availability from PTs too. Since online platforms are open to a much larger audience, many healthcare providers have had to boost their PT ranks. More specifically, many private practices and healthcare organizations are also turning to physical therapy managers. Among the most popular healthcare management careers today, these professionals manage operations, personnel, and technology-related decisions. Due to their ability to understand the business and the healthcare side of this industry, many PTs have been able to successfully enter telemedicine and create personalized sessions for patients. In many cases, PTs and patients have even been able to embrace hybrid treatment plans.
Employees are returning to office work
Because the sudden shift in lifestyle caused many to drastically reduce their fitness efforts, many have reported developing chronic body aches and pains. To date, about almost 59% of all Americans state that they’ve experienced bouts of pain in the last three months. This is especially prevalent among workers, who have had to make do with makeshift workspaces for extended hours. Now that many employers are initiating a return to the office, this has encouraged many workers to seek aid from physical therapists. As a matter of fact, some employers have even begun to offer their own physical therapy programs. With assistance from HR representatives, employers have started including treatment and recovery sessions led by PTs in their wellness programs. Such wellness programs have been proven to reduce absenteeism and lower instances of illness in employees. This year many hope that wellness plans that include physical therapy will be able to restore the pre-2020 levels of productivity and satisfaction, too.
Life expectancy has increased
Finally, PTs are more necessary than ever given how most people are enjoying longer lifespans. Because of advancements in healthcare and improvements in living conditions, the average life expectancy has increased by over six years worldwide. While this is generally positive, this also means that the number of those afflicted with age-related pain and mobility issues swells too. Since PTs are also trained to cater to older patients, they are becoming more crucial personnel in many nursing homes and elder care centers.
In conclusion, PTs are critical healthcare providers who have proven themselves necessary for almost all demographics. With the expert ability to help patients regain both physical and mental challenges related to pain and mobility, PTs will only continue to see a larger scope of demand. As more people return to work and proceed to live longer, physical therapy may soon become as commonplace as daily exercise and diet.
Article written by Rita Janelle
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