“I can come to you”
Music to the ears of someone who is terrified to leave their home, someone who is unable to drive due to their injury, or someone who experiences limiting fatigue.
We have been a mobile business since inception in 2013, and there are good reasons that we’ve chosen to stay that way.
NB: Covid restrictions in the past 1.5 years have forced us to opt for Telehealth in many situations and we have made the swift transition to Zoom (with many great outcomes!). But let’s be honest, there’s simply no substitute for real, face-to-face interaction.
We are well aware that travel charges can add an extra cost, and we occasionally do have to navigate sensitive conversations around whether the cost of travel is really necessary. Our response is almost always a resounding YES.
Quite simply, having Exercise Physiologists who are mobile improves client outcomes. Let us explain why!
Prioritising Client Comfort
Operating mobile allows our EPs to meet their clients where they’re familiar and comfortable – in their world, not ours. Whether it’s at a local gym, park, or at the client’s home, meeting clients somewhere that is familiar to them sets the tone of prioritising their comfort right from day one. This goes a long way for establishing trust and developing rapport with the client.
Getting it right in these initial phases of a program is imperative. Many clients are already overwhelmed with all the new people involved in their therapy and life as a claimant, all the appointments they have, the paperwork… Not to mention the struggles of their illness or injury itself! Nothing is more important than making sure that the client feels that they are safe and being well taken care of.
Removing Barriers to Exercise
By operating as a mobile business, we are traveling to meet the client with all the equipment that they need for their exercise session – all they have to do is show up! How much easier can it be than that?
This knocks off some of the biggest barriers to exercise that we often see – lack of access to equipment or gym facilities, limited time availability, lack of car access, and even child care duties! The more easily accessible the exercise session is, the less restricted the client is by potential barriers and the better the adherence to the program.
This is especially important when it comes to working with mental health claimants – for example, those who are fearful of leaving the house or those who struggle with a lack of motivation. We can minimise these barriers by going directly to the client.
Ownership and Integration
Whether a client takes ownership of their exercise is one of the biggest determinants of a program’s success. Introducing exercise in a context that they are familiar with makes it significantly easier to integrate the exercise routine into their everyday life.
Humans are habitual creatures! Once we are in the habit of doing an activity in a specific location or environment, it’s easier to replicate the same exercises in the same place than it is to try them in a new location. The more consistent the external cues are, the stronger the association, and therefore the better compliance to the program.
It means they’re more likely to complete their homework (i.e do the exercises when we’re not there) as well as develop the independence that they need to continue with their exercise after the program is complete.
Supporting the client to take ownership of the program, outside of a “clinic” setting and instead in a “real world” setting, encourages self-management and improved sustainability of the results.
There is no silver bullet to elicit meaningful changes in health – success requires dedication, determination, and consistency. Traveling to the client assists this by removing barriers and facilitating trust. Traveling to the client makes it easier for the client to succeed.
We encourage you to see the extra cost as an investment – it’s worth it if you want meaningful results for your claimants!
Author: Yolanda van Vugt Clinical Exercise Physiologist and Content Creator at Specialised Health
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