Patient Experience

How to Motivate Patients to Complete their HEPs

Even though you prescribe the best care that will help your patients heal better and faster, it can still be difficult to get patients to actually follow their plan of care. Unfortunately, 35% of patients don’t strictly adhere to their care plans even though it’s in their best interest to do so.

Why are so many patients neglecting to follow the HEPs set out by wonderful therapists like you?

In many cases, lack of motivation is to blame. Injuries and pain can cause depression and feelings of defeat, making it difficult for patients to have the desire to complete their home exercise programs. Often they will even end up skipping therapy appointments or dropping out completely if they don’t feel like they’re getting better.

On the other hand, some patients may not be completing their HEPs because they don’t see the importance of doing so. Patients are busy, just like you are! If HEPs don’t sit high on the priority list, patients will skip out on completing them.

As a physical therapist, it’s your job to address these issues and make sure you help your patients complete their HEPs. You may be thinking, “I’m not at home with them, so how can I make sure they complete their HEPs?” By following the tips below, you’ll be able to keep your patients motivated, engaged and involved in their HEPs throughout their care – even when they’re not under your watchful eye!

Sell your patients on the value of HEPs

Before your patient walks out the door with their HEP, make sure you sell them on the value of doing their exercises at home. You know that these exercises are key to faster healing – make sure your patients know, too!

The value of HEPs will also increase if you align them with a goal or interest the patient has. For example if your patient loves to golf, relate their HEP with being able to improve his back swing sooner. This will make the plan of care all the more important to him.

Celebrate the small stuff

If your patient is feeling down about an injury, celebrating the small victories can mean a lot. Make sure you acknowledge the progress your patient makes at every appointment. Keep it positive so your patient will stay motivated to make even bigger improvements!

Encourage a lifestyle change

Most patients see HEPs as homework, and no one wants to do homework! Rather than talking about HEPs as something patients have to do just a couple times a week, encourage your patients to make a lifestyle change to exercise and be active forever!

HEPs shouldn’t just be about curing one ailment, but also about living a healthier lifestyle into the future. You may be able to help your patients reach other health and fitness goals and improve their quality of life.

Make adjustments as needed

Keep the communication open and honest with your patients when it comes to HEPs. Let’s be real, you can tell when they’re lying about completing their HEPs. Don’t call them out on it, but find out why they’re not completing them and make changes to the plan if it will get them more engaged. Perhaps the patient is confused about an exercise, or it’s too difficult. These are issues you can address during therapy and ensure your patient is happy with his or her plan.

Deliver HEPs in the most convenient format

Convenience is key when it comes to patients completing HEPs. Some of your patients will prefer print outs of exercises, some patients will prefer videos. Do your best to provide more than one avenue for your patients to follow HEPs so they will be able to easily understand their exercises. This HEP software reports 10 times higher patient engagement rates with their patient-facing HEP videos.

Another great way to deliver HEPs is through the FYZICAL Patient App that’s available now through Google Play and Apple iTunes. Patients can download this app straight to their phone and access instructive videos on their personalized exercise routine. It also gathers feedback after each exercise, and allows patients to send videos through the app to their therapist if they’re unsure of an exercise. It doesn’t get much more convenient than that!

You can learn more about the FYZICAL Patient App by contacting Grant Wood at


It’s up to you to keep the ball rolling and keep your patients on track throughout therapy. If you want to make sure your patients complete their plan of care, download this tip sheet: Tips for Improving Patient Engagement and Experience and share it with your team!

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