When you think about October, you likely think of kids leaping into piles of crunchy, dried leaves, a freshly carved jack-o-lantern on your front porch, and maybe a spooky meme or two. But at WebPT, we’re thinking about physical therapists. (To be fair, PTs are pretty much always on our minds.) That’s because the APTA has dubbed October National Physical Therapy Month, and we think it’s the perfect reason to celebrate professionals who are dedicated to promoting health and wellness and restoring function in their patients. It’s also the perfect time to unite the PT profession by showing the world that PTs give back. To that end, I present you with a few ideas to kick off National PT Month 2017 and spread awareness in your community about the benefits of physical therapy.
Participate in PT Day of Service
The global PT Day of Service (PTDOS) event is only two years old, but its organization has already made quite an impact, recruiting 8,000 volunteers in 42 countries across the globe. So, how appropriate that this event falls smack-dab in the middle of National PT Month. PTDOS is coming up on October 14, and you can pledge to participate here. Some great service ideas include:
- Cleaning up a local watershed, highway, or park;
- Organizing a fun run or give-back event;
- Volunteering at your local animal shelter;
- Spending time at a pro-bono clinic;
- Starting a clothing or canned food drive with your colleagues; or
- Hosting a wellness event at your practice that includes free health screenings.
Not sure how to participate? That’s okay! Find an ambassador to learn more about PT Day of Service events in your area. You can also become an ambassador for your region and host events for PTs in your area. Of course, life can be hectic, and not everyone has the time to organize a major event. So, consider donating to a charity or fundraiser of your choice. (We’re partial to Rehab Therapists Give Back, which will provide relief to those affected by the recent storms in the southern US, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean.) Remember, as Mother Theresa said, “It’s not how much you give. It’s how much love you put in the giving.”
Talk to Your Patients
Most physical therapists have a story—or likely several stories—about a patient they brought from the brink of immobility to restored function. During National PT Month, ask your patients to share those stories—from their perspective—with the APTA. Those impactful messages could appear on the APTA website, social media, podcasts, or other marketing channels. Some practices also give small gifts to patients who help promote the PT brand by providing testimonials or sharing their stories with friends, family, and colleagues. (Buttons, pens, and stress balls sporting the APTA’s logo make great freebies.) The APTA also has downloadable logos, brochures, and handouts to display around your clinic and spark conversation about National PT Month.
With more and more patients taking opioids for pain management—and Americans' increasingly sedentary lifestyles making it even more challenging for individuals to maintain healthy function—it’s an auspicious time to be discussing the benefits of physical therapy. And what better way to spread physical therapy brand awareness than by creating a positive, meaningful impact in your community? After all, by showing the world that PTs give back, you’re not only getting your name out there, but also cultivating a culture of caring—and that does more to boost the PT brand than any ad campaign.