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Group Physical Therapy for Veterans

Posted by Brian Spence on Apr 8, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Veteran, Physical Therapy, HealthcareThe medical community is always looking for ways to provide faster treatment for their patients without compromising on the quality of care. One such method being studied is whether or not group therapy sessions offer any advantages over traditional treatments, for veterans diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Traditional physical therapy treatment of course, consists of a physical therapist working either one on one with a patient or perhaps loosely overlapping two patient appointments. In this post, we will discuss some of the traditional components of PT sessions for knee osteoarthritis patients, as well as consider whether group therapy sessions can be just as effective.

Traditional Treatment

The typical goals of physical therapy treatment for knee osteoarthritis is to improve a patient's health in the areas of knee strength, function, flexibility, and the ability to walk as normally as possible. To accomplish these goals, traditional treatments typically include putting individual patients through a series of specially designed exercises, initially focusing on gentle stretching, as well as including exercises that help to improve range of motion. Lastly, as the patient improves, physical therapists then introduce exercises designed to increase strength and improve both balance and gait.

A key component of individual treatment involves assigning specific exercises for patients to do at home. Both the physical therapist and the patient must work together to reach the point where the patient understands what is expected of them in terms of executing the exercises correctly, as well as providing any pertinent feedback so a physical therapist can provide clarification and/or modify their instructions.

Group Sessions

After observing that even with traditional treatment, most patients do at least some independent therapy work, a case can be made that small group sessions may be a viable option for some patients. The clear advantage of conducting group therapy sessions vs. single patient sessions is that it will reduce traditional wait times to begin actual treatment. Of course, there will always be some complex cases that will require individual attention, but many patients will likely appreciate the shorter waiting times associated with group treatment.

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