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Measure to Motivate: Increase Patient Compliance with a Goniometer

It’s well established that patients often struggle to complete their exercises at home, due to lack of motivation. Motivation is a key part of ensuring recovery and has the power to encourage behavioral changes in even the most non-compliant of patients.¹


Research has examined various methods of motivating patients, and I’m sure that as a therapist, you’ve tried many creative solutions of your own.



But perhaps the best tool for motivation is one that you already use — the goniometer.

As a trained therapist, it’s easy for you to tell if a patient is improving. You may notice slight increases in mobility, greater grip strength, or less movement hesitancy. However, patients aren’t able to see the same things you do.



Patients can’t tell if they’re getting better and have a hard time visualizing their progress, which makes them question if exercising is even helping at all.

This is where the goniometer comes in. To a patient, measurement is important because numbers are factual, and an increase in range of motion is a clear sign to them that they’re improving. In turn, this motivates them to continue working towards their goals, demonstrating that their hard work is paying off.



“If the patient sees progress, then the patient wants to work even more to achieve their goals.” ²

Therefore, the goniometer can provide so much more than just range of motion measurements. It is a tool for motivation, encouragement, and ultimately, compliance. This idea is nothing new — after all, it’s simply emulating the smartwatch or activity tracker on your patient’s wrist.


So, how do you implement these ideas into your practice? Many of you already share goniometer measurements with your patients weekly, but you can also:

  1. Keep a written record to refer back to with the patient

  2. Set specific goals and targets for the patient

  3. Adjust the patient’s home exercise based on their measurements


If you like these ideas, but aren't sure if you have the time to incorporate them, a digital goniometer may be the answer for you. Not only can you automatically measure, track, and motivate, but patients can also complete measurements on their own.


How can this be done? Is it even possible to incorporate a digital goniometer with measuring real-time exercises? That's a topic for our next blog post. Stay tuned!

 

References

  1. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fresc.2021.664758/full

  2. https://www.jospt.org/do/10.2519/jospt.blog.20221012/full/

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