The trend in patient care has been the use of multidisciplinary healthcare teams to improve treatment success rates and augment preventative care. Multidisciplinary healthcare team members are mutually accountable for both the planning and the execution of plans at every stage of the process. The days of a singular doctor-patient relationship are more and more rare, and today’s physicians acknowledge that the more they involve other disciplines in their patients’ care, the more likely those patients are to recover from or learn coping skills to deal with an illness or an injury. Nurses, Physical Therapists, and Occupational Therapists are increasingly integral parts of the holistic approach to patient care being implemented in clinics, hospitals and private practices everywhere.
For instance, Registered Nurses can be found playing a key role in the preventative care of patients with acute rheumatic diseases. These nurses are most often the “first responders” in such cases. They conduct histories and physical exams of patients to formulate initial diagnosis of a patient’s general health status, recommend appropriate therapies, help the family develop an applicable plan of care, and in some cases even prescribe pharmacologic interventions. A RN’s advanced clinical knowledge and diagnostic skills make them invaluable in ensuring successful treatment of these chronic ailments that affect approximately 50 million people in the U.S.A.
There is a growing acknowledgement in healthcare concerning the mind-body connection and its importance to successful outcomes. Although Physical Therapists are widely perceived as experts in the rehabilitation of the body, they now play a growing, vital role in facilitating improvements in a patient’s psychological health as well. Those suffering from mental illnesses are not immune to physical illnesses, but treatment by a physiotherapist is often viewed by both patients and their families as lacking the stigma attached to treatment by a psychiatrist. The PT is able, through the use of touch and relaxation exercises, to earn the patients’ trust and effect in them a sense of well-being that supports treatment by the rest of the team.
Nowhere is the need for a multidisciplinary approach more evident than in geriatric medicine. As people age, they are often beset by a variety of syndromes simultaneously, necessitating the input of not only doctors and nurses but psychologists, PT’s and OT’s as well. Each member of the geriatric team provides the checks and balances necessary for the management of potentially incompatible therapies and for the reduction of pharmacological interactions. The OT’s role often centers on the assessment and treatment of problems arising from the daily living activities of seniors. The OT is often the first team member to observe subtle but important changes in behavior, such as perceptual disorders that can significantly impact the effectiveness of any course of treatment.
As healthcare becomes more patient centered, with more emphasis being placed on preventive care, the use of multidisciplinary teams will undoubtedly increase. If you are a Rehab Therapy Professional or Nurse and interested in working as part of a multidisciplinary team of professionals, consult Centra at 800 535 0076 and let us help you find your dream team.