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A celebration of maintenance, by Kerry Richardson

As a physiotherapist who supports babies, children and adults with long term conditions, I adore a goal: small steps to reach the long-term aim that is functional and meaningful to each person. I sometimes meet a person who has their goal firmly in mind, others who need to chat and work through together what they want to achieve. With progressive conditions, goals are related to how best to keep function, anticipate and defer potential issues. The goal plan might involve adaptability, thinking outside the box or support in coming to terms with a new way of doing things.

Then comes the practical input: physical and mental motivation and determination, stepping-stone goals to reach the ultimate achievement. 

It’s an uplifting ‘high’ for both clients and physiotherapists when goals are achieved and it’s part of what I love in my role as a rehabilitation professional. In our team, goals are often linked to functional mobility, fitness and activity and pain management which also have a significant impact on improving mental health and wellbeing.

But what happens after the goals have been achieved? Some people have the self-motivation and physical ability to keep going, maintaining the new level of activity from day to day.

For others, this can be more of a struggle.

I’m sure many of us can empathise with the difficulty of keeping up with new skills and good habits. I have lost count of the times that I have re-started my own fitness and healthy-living regimen!

So, for our clients who achieve their goal, it is a resounding well done! To then maintain the goal, it is another cause for celebration.

How do we support this wonderful state of maintaining? 

That is a topic we discuss with each client and support their individual needs. Some clients choose to attend our clinic and gym as part of their ongoing fitness management, accessing groups or 1:1 sessions. Others are supported to join local activities or groups such as swimming, cycling, horse-riding and fitness classes. Clients may request reviews, a body ‘MOT’ to check how things are going and adapt as required. 

Ultimately, each client knows that they have a physiotherapist who will continue to offer support in managing their activities and maintaining their motivation!  We celebrate with them if they feel ready to graduate from us and continue their onward health and wellness journey - but they always know that the team are there for ad hoc advice or a more comprehensive review if they find they encounter difficulties, struggle to maintain the momentum or just need periodic guidance to maintain their achievements.  

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