Each October marks the start of National Physical Therapy Month, a multi-week celebration of physical therapy health benefits. Over the course of National PT Month, we raise awareness around the importance of PT services to a quality of life and recognize the value of the physical therapists, therapist assistants, and incoming PT students who make it possible.
As a hub of healing for the local community, every practice should strive to promote National Physical Therapy Month among its patient base and therapy staff. Embracing the festivities can help not only recognize the staff's hard work but also educate patients on the importance of routine physical therapy, driving more patients through your practice doors.
Now is the time to plan your upcoming National PT Month festivities. To celebrate, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has selected a “Value of PT” theme to emphasize the many ways physical therapy can improve the quality of life for you and your patients. With October fast approaching, consider these ideas for PT Month celebrations.
National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) is a four-week-long celebration that occurs each October to raise awareness for and appreciate the hard work of physical therapists. The origins of NPTM date back to the early 1980s, when the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and other participating components began to celebrate ‘Physical Therapy Week,’ which was initially observed the first week of June.
Fast-forward nearly a decade, and the first official National Physical Therapy Month was observed in October 1992. Physical therapy practices across the country have celebrated NPTM every October since! This unofficial holiday is meant to raise awareness among patients about the countless benefits of physical therapy and show appreciation for the physical therapists, PT assistants, and PT students who transform lives.
With World Physical Therapy Day occurring on September 8, just a few short weeks before the start of National Physical Therapy Month, you might be unsure why we need an entire extra month to celebrate the power of physical activity. No, it’s not to receive Physical Therapy Month gifts… It’s to celebrate how much of a gift physical therapy is to us all — practitioners and patients alike.
Celebrating Physical Therapy Month allows PTs to be vocal about why we’re so passionate about this industry and the myriad of benefits that come with routine physical activity. It also allows us to involve employees and patients in the festivities, underscoring the vital role of PTAs and front-office staff and strengthening patient relationships, which can enhance a clinic’s reputation.
October is our time to shine for physical therapy professionals across the country. The entire month is jam-packed with various initiatives, both in the office and throughout the community, to drive awareness of the benefits of therapeutic physical activity. Here are five ideas for National Physical Therapy Month — and the annual “Value of PT” theme — to put in motion in your practice.
One of the first things PT clinics can do to raise interest in Physical Therapy Month is to advertise it around the office. Beginning the first week of October, patients should be greeted by relevant posters and flyers immediately upon opening the doors to your practice. These advertising materials should sum up the benefits of physical therapy services for people of all ages.
Unless you choose to craft advertisements of your own, the ChoosePT Toolkit presented by APTA is an excellent resource when on the hunt for celebratory material. Such media resources include the National Physical Therapy Month Toolkit, highlighting therapeutic exercises in a series of clinic posters, flyers, and postcards in free-to-download formats.
Aside from posters or flyers that can hang on your practice's walls, postcards are a simple method to drive interest in National Physical Therapy Month in the office. Your staff can hand these advertisements to patients as they sign in or schedule a follow-up appointment to educate them on the importance of maintaining a complete physical therapy episode of care.
In today's day and age of technology, advertising efforts no longer consist of strictly physical print media. This October, be sure to also advertise National Physical Therapy Month through digital means, including your practice's social media presence. Fortunately, the National Physical Therapy Month Toolkit also includes social media graphics that can help promote National PT Month.
Whether you create your own social media content or leverage premade assets, be sure to focus on engaging patient education material like the benefits of routine physical activity or pain relief tips, such as therapeutic exercises that can be completed at home. You can also spotlight patient success stories, such as recently injured patients who have regained mobility through physical activity.
Because physical therapy is a collective celebration of clinics nationwide, consider using targeted hashtags to drive the desired audience to your social media pages. Choose hashtags like #ChoosePT, #PTMonth, and #PhysicalTherapyMonth to garner the attention of patients and fellow industry professionals who are also celebrating. Remember to leverage your social media as an open forum for patients to inquire about celebrations and relevant PT questions they may have.
While any month is a good month for spreading PT knowledge, the October celebration of Physical Therapy Month is the perfect time to host a virtual webinar. Virtual webinars are fun and interactive to educate viewers on how physical therapy can improve overall well-being and introduce your staff members to the local community.
Select a few times and dates throughout October to host a virtual webinar. Then, use one of your physical therapy marketing mediums, like social media, to inform followers how they can tune in. Request that viewers spread the word by reposting advertisements to encourage potential patient referrals and possible new industry relationships.
There are numerous ways PT professionals can host virtual webinars, including Zoom, Google Meet, and Facebook Live. These live events should focus on relevant topics, such as the power of routine physical activity and tips for viewers to stay healthy. Remain open to any viewer questions and encourage participants to contact your practice and inquire about PT services if they want to learn more.
National PT Month can highlight the value of physical therapy to drive an influx of new patients. Consider using a special offer when deciding how to market your PT practice offline. Throughout October, develop a unique treatment package or referral program that adheres to this year's "Value of PT" theme, highlighting the healthcare cost savings from physical therapy services.
Whether it's a free seminar or discounted treatment service, acknowledge the theme by providing services highlighting daily physical activity's importance. Treatment sessions could include a few physical therapy exercises to treat various musculoskeletal conditions. Special offers like this will encourage not only new inquiries but also the development of long-term patient relationships.
Likewise, consider extending this offer to other physicians in your area to spark additional National Physical Therapy Month ideas. By communicating with primary care physicians and pediatricians about NPTM, you can increase your rate of physician’s referral. Referrals are a proven strategy to increase patients in your physical therapy clinic and generate professional relationships.
For an even more targeted approach to celebrating Physical Therapy Month, PT practices should remember to recognize Global Physical Therapist Day on October 21st.
Established in 2015, this yearly initiative encourages physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and PT clinic employees to complete an act of service in recognition of Global Physical Therapist Day. Remember to capture your team's efforts on this day and share them with patients on social media.
Whether it's related to physical therapy or otherwise, there are a wide variety of volunteer opportunities PT professionals can complete on October 21st to become part of the initiative. It's essential to conduct research to identify a local charity or organization needing your help. If possible, you can share your skills free of charge through PT education to help the community residents who are potentially less fortunate and can't afford treatment to cope with their condition.
Don’t just challenge yourself to partake in Global Physical Therapist Day this October; turn the entire month into a challenge — a wellness challenge, that is! As the name might suggest, a wellness challenge is a type of healthy competition that encourages positive lifestyle behaviors, like remaining active through routine exercise and physical therapy.
You can utilize wellness challenges to promote a healthier lifestyle among your patients, focusing on this year’s NPTM “Value of PT” theme to highlight the importance of movement and the many ways physical therapy can improve their quality of life. You can also provide challenges for healthy eating, like maintaining proper hydration or serving sizes.
Likewise, don’t be afraid to extend wellness challenges to your PT practice. After all, no one knows better than you and your team of physical therapist assistants that you can never have enough physical activity. Adopt a practice-wide wellness challenge as a team-building strategy to maintain the spirit of National Physical Therapy Month all October long.
As you celebrate National Physical Therapy Month with your staff and patients, remember that tons of local organizations can also help raise awareness about the positive impacts of physical therapy. October is the time to explore collaboration with local gyms and fitness centers, as well as local health-related businesses, such as chiropractic offices.
By cross-promoting your Physical Therapy Month activities with local partnerships, you can dramatically expand the reach of your marketing materials and, with that, the number of potential patients you can target. And by partnering with trusted businesses in your area, you can help to build a reputation with residents as local movement experts.
Remember that your partnership should not only focus on Physical Therapy Month but also the benefits of therapeutic physical activity. Be sure to explain how physical therapy can ward against chronic conditions, future injury, and improve quality of life for patients of all walks of life. Plus, don’t forget to include the contact information for your PT practice.
The most rewarding aspects of physical therapy are the patient wins achieved through hands-on care. As such, sharing compelling patient success stories is a significant way to celebrate NPTM. Whether it’s through physical therapy blogs on your clinic website or posts on your social media platforms, broadcast how PT and prescribed exercise helped people manage pain and prevent chronic disease that could lead to reduced quality of life.
For instance, physical therapy is considered a primary pain management technique that, when consistent, can lead to ultimate pain relief. It can help patients avoid surgery and steep health care costs. While still being mindful of patient confidentiality and HIPAA laws, share any patient stories that speak to one of those many benefits.
Similarly, consider how you can tie your patient success stories back into this year’s “Value of PT” theme to humanize the profession and showcase the nonmedical impact of physical therapy, like how being more active makes patients feel. Highlight how patients who have embraced physical activity have flourished both mentally and physically.
Last but certainly not least, offer community presentations throughout October to make Physical Therapy Month a true celebration for your neighborhood or city. Local schools are an excellent starting point — one, because children can never get enough physical activity, and two, because you and your team can have a blast creating wellness activities for the kids.
Aside from local schools, consult with community organizations and human services offices to offer physical therapy education classes that raise awareness about the importance of regular movement. These organizations and centers are also probably in need of a clinician who can provide hands-on care, so you can establish yourself as a trusted source in the community.
To round out your National Physical Therapy Month celebrations, contact local senior centers or assisted living facilities to offer physical activity seminars. Here, you can teach classes on the importance of regular movement or demonstrate simple exercises. By the time October is over, no resident will need to ask ‘when is physical therapy month’ ever again!
National Physical Therapy Month is an excellent opportunity for PT clinics to market their practice and spread the knowledge of their expertise across the community. With these nine ideas for Physical Therapy Month, practices can encourage and build long-lasting patient relationships while providing a helping hand to those in need of treatment services.
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