It’s a Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood

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Mr. Rogers and developing relationships.

By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?” —Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers had some great advice not only for children, but for those who own or operate a business. The importance of building relationships has become increasingly more important in this everchanging world of private practice physical therapy. In this month’s column, the Marketing and Public Relations (PR) Committee would like to highlight some of the ideas of Fred Rogers and why his vision may have significant meaning for our practices.

“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” —Fred Rogers

Most physical therapists I know entered the field because they were passionate about helping people. As we move from staff physical therapist to manager to owner, our interactions with patients may decrease and we find ourselves in meetings and conversations with a wide variety of individuals. Your day may be made up of interactions with insurance companies, vendors, legislators, human resources directors, and other business owners. Just as it is important to develop relationships with our patients, it is equally critical to our success to do the same with all these other contacts. As Mr. Rogers points out, showing others kindness is the way to success. In fact, thinking about the qualities you use to engage and empower your patients is an excellent way to develop relationships with your other contacts. Let’s look at a few areas:

Interest
The first job in our evaluation process is obtaining the patient history. While we ask for information on date and mechanism of injury, it is important to understand the patient’s activities and their goals. The more we recognize the desires and objectives of our patients, the better equipped we are to assist them. This same aspiration should hold true when we develop relationships with our other “neighbors” in our health care and business community. Understanding the needs of others is a crucial step and relaying that perception is a great way to build a relationship.

Education/Expertise
Physical therapists have an expertise in health care and wellness and our patients look to us for answers that will assist them back to full function. Many of our “neighbors” are also looking for answers, many that we may be able to provide. As health care costs soar, employers, legislators, and third-party payers are looking for ways to decrease expenses and improve the bottom line. As research continues to demonstrate the cost-saving value of physical therapy, the relationships we develop with the individuals in control of the dollars are critical. It is imperative that they understand our expertise and our contribution to their goals.

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Motivation
Our patients must understand that, while we are here to help guide them back to health, it is ultimately the hard work that they put in, both in the clinic and on their own, that will complete the job. Motivation plays a critical role throughout the rehabilitation process and extends to relationship building throughout your community network. When motivating others to continue a course of action or inspiring different groups to work together for a common cause, our energy and our passion demonstrate our commitment to those relationships.

Hard Work
Practicing physical therapy is incredibly rewarding, but few physical therapists would say that our job is easy. The initial education process, as well as keeping up with the changes in the field, makes us lifetime learners. The ever-increasing burden of paperwork further impacts the amount of time we spend on work activities. It is important to carry this work ethic on as we build our relationships. Just like a marriage, relationships require work and can fall apart without effort. There may be times when you feel like the work on the relationship is all one sided. For those times remember this Mr. Rogers quote, “I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly only helpful to someone else.” When we do for others without always concentrating on the return, our relationships will strengthen.

Relationship building is critical in the success of not only our own businesses, but also in the health of our profession. The time and energy we put into our connections and community partners will have long-lasting, positive effects. Remember, don’t disappoint Mr. Rogers. 

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Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS, is chair of the marketing and PR committee and co-owner of Olympic Physical Therapy with five locations in Rhode Island. He can be reached at dlevine@olympicpt-ri.com.

Clear Concepts

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PPS Media Corps offers excellent marketing advice for private practice owners on the go.

Interview with Nathaniel Christadoss, PT, CKTP | By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS

There are two things that generally prevent marketing and public relations (PR) efforts from succeeding: too little time and not enough money. Several years ago, the Private Practice Section (PPS) Marketing and PR Committee and Epic PR Group created the PPS Media Corps, offering a new benefit to members that provided PR and marketing resources to busy private practice owners. Nearly 180 members from across the United States have joined the Media Corps and regularly receive press releases, media tips, one-on-one consulting, and additional support from Epic throughout the year.

Last year, the Media Corps held a competition to find out which member has been most successful in using the resources provided. Nathaniel Christadoss, owner of Physical Therapy of Melissa, was named the winner at the PPS Annual Conference in November and was awarded a full year of PR consulting services from Epic.

Be Everywhere

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Use client-focused marketing to increase leads.

By Jena H. Castro-Casbon, MS, CCC-SLP

Where You Are vs. Where You Want to Be
Inevitably, every December and January there is much talk of New Year’s resolutions. Whether they motivate you or make you cringe, starting each year by analyzing where you are and where you want to be in your private practice is very important. Chances are, no matter how successful your private practice is, you still have goals to increase income, productivity, and overall success.

If your main goals surround increasing income, you are going to have to tap into additional referral sources to grow your caseload. Although finding new clients is not easy, I urge you to dedicate your 2015 marketing efforts to being everywhere. Before we learn how to have a “be everywhere” mentality, we need to make sure that your future clients know why they should hire you.

Sound Sleep

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How can your private practice highlight National Sleep Awareness Month?

By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS

The marketing and PR Committee looks ahead to March to see where our efforts might coincide with some of the national events or causes on our calendar. In past years, we have highlighted issues such as brain injuries, March Madness, and the start of Little League baseball and softball. This year, we will focus on a topic that affects not only your current and potential patients, but also your employees and co-workers. March is National Sleep Awareness Month, a topic that impacts individuals on many levels.

We all know how we feel when we do not get enough sleep—but what are the benefits for getting a good night’s sleep?

Just the Facts

What happens when we sleep?1
  • Our blood pressure drops.
  • Muscles relax and receive more blood flow.
  • Tissue growth and repair occurs.
  • Hormones are released (such as growth hormone).
  • Energy is provided to the brain and the body.
What happens when we do not get enough sleep?2
  • Accidents occur: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fatigue is a cause in 100,000 auto crashes and 1,550 crash-related deaths a year in the U.S. The problem is greatest among people under 25 years old.
  • Sleep loss impedes cognitive function: Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving.
  • Lack of sleep is linked to depression.
  • Loss of sleep can lead to weight gain: Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. “Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite.”
  • Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin. Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite, but it also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods.
  • Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health issues. Chronic sleep loss can put you at risk for: Heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes.

Chronic sleep deprivation can also jeopardize your patients’ ability to heal. Just one night of less than six hours of sleep negatively affects the expression of more than 700 genes the next day. This leads to weakened immunity, increased inflammation, and decreased cell repair.3

Sleep facts and teens
The Better Health Channel says the typical teenage brain wants to go to bed late and sleep late the following morning. Work on adjusting your body clock and check out these tips:4

  • Choose a relaxing bedtime routine, for example, have a hot bath before bed.
  • Avoid loud music, homework, computer games for about an hour prior to bedtime.
  • Start your bedtime routine a little earlier than usual (for example, 10 minutes).
  • Avoid staying up late on weekends.

Sleepfoundation.org offers teens some other tips:

  • Make your room a sleep haven. Keep it cool, quiet, and dark.
  • Do not eat, drink, or exercise within a few hours of your bedtime.1

Educate
Provide information in multiple formats, such as on a company Facebook page, newsletter, and website. Leave facts up in your staff break room.

Participate
Hold lectures for coaches, parents, and athletes. The links below offer free information that is easy to share with your community.

Looking at the statistics and suggestions above, it is obvious that sleep deprivation is an epidemic. From improved healing rates to improved performance and mental acuity, helping our patients, staff, and co-workers understand the importance of a good night’s sleep is beneficial to all. While we make note of this for the month of March, physical therapists should spend time every month of the year discussing the benefits of sleep with our patients.

The Marketing and PR Committee hopes that these ideas will help you promote your practice and engage your community. We would love to hear about your successes. We can all spread the message about the benefits of physical therapy—as well as a good night’s sleep.

Share your events in the Marketing section on the PPS Message Board at www.ppsapta.org.

REFERENCES

1. National Sleep Foundation. Website www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/what-happens-when-you-sleep. Accessed December 2014.

2. WebMD. Website www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss?page=1. Accessed December 2014.

3. Psychology Today. Website www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-healing-factor/201303/the-healing-significance-sleep. Accessed December 2014

4. Better Health. Website www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bharticles.nsf/pages/Teenagers_sleep. Accessed December 2014.

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Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS, is chair of the marketing and PR committee and co-owner of Olympic Physical Therapy with five locations in Rhode Island. He can be reached at dlevine@olympicpt-ri.com.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

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By Don Levine, PT, DPT, FAFS

We hope that you have started the New Year off with meaningful planning and a positive outlook. As we look ahead to February, we offer some public relations ideas that you can implement in your practice to increase your community visibility and drive business through your doors. Last year, we offered you thoughts on National Girls and Women’s Health Day, as well as couples workouts for Valentine’s Day. This year, we are staying with the Valentine theme, but providing our consumers with two clear messages:

  1. You do not need a referral from your doctor to access physical therapy.
  2. Give your spouse or loved one the gift of physical therapy.

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