I'm very confident there will be more and more need for rehabilitation services. If we look at trends, can we position ourselves to support the rehabilitation market growth in the needed areas?
Growing Population of 65+ Year Olds
Consider the trend in the percentage of individuals who are older than 65 years of age. It's growing. This age group will always need rehabilitation services. Highly utilized services will include services for osteoarthritis, pain, balance deficits, joint replacements and maintaining mobility. This particular population may have concurrent visual, hearing and cognitive deficits. Clinicians will need efficient ways to connect and communicate with this growing group. Source: UN Population Division Physical Inactivity Trends
Exercise is medicine. The trend appears that people are not consistently taking this "medication." Inactivity continues to be alive and well. The effects of inactivity are numerous. Diabetes, cardiovascular problems and obesity will increase in a variety of age groups, including pediatrics. This will then lead to dehabilitation and mobility deficits. In order to adequately intervene, we will need durable equipment with specifications that will support 400 or more pounds. We will also need to take time to ensure that clinicians are safe in providing services to these individuals.
Inactivity Rates Segmented by Age
Source: 2016 Physical Activity Council Report
Alternative Options for Treating Pain
Physicians will no longer perpetuate the trend of prescribing narcotics for pain relief. Rehabilitation professionals will be key players in treating individuals who have pain. These individuals will be seeking services in a state of not only feeling pain, but also anxiousness and fearfulness. Clinicians will need to be prepared to address acute and persistent pain issues. Addressing a person's pain experience will require more than providing interventions. Success may only be achieved by including education and addressing the anxiety and fear associated with a person's pain experience. Clinicians will also be required to evaluate response to intervention and refer non-responders to an appropriate professional.
In order to be successful in providing services in the upcoming trends, clinicians will need to be diligently focused on effectiveness and efficiency. Clinicians will also need to engage patients. Patients will require hope, information on final outcomes and motivation to achieve outcomes.
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