Physical therapy handouts serve as valuable information for patients during their home treatment so they must be prepared in such a way that it will achieve its purpose of giving the instructions in a clear manner leaving little or no room for misinterpretation.
The following guidelines are important when preparing the physical therapy handouts for patients.
- Clear goal. When developing physical therapy handouts, a clear goal must be established. This goal must be kept in mind during the entire process of creating the physical therapy handouts because it will affect the choices you will be making. It will help you decide whether you will use illustrations or detailed, step by step instructions or both and what information will be included.
- Understand your audience. Understanding clearly who your audience will help you during the writing, editing and designing of the physical therapy handouts. Pertinent questions that you need to ask is who are the patients who would be using the handouts, what their literacy levels, and their concerns and fear about their conditions.
- Content. The information presented in the physical therapy handouts must be accurate, objective, up to date and organized and consistent with the medical condition of the patients.
- Readability. The physical therapy handouts must be understood by the patients so they can accomplish what must be done. This would involve determining the needs and comprehension of the physical therapy patients.
- Writing Style. To ensure readability of the physical therapy handouts, it must be written in a way appropriate to the needs and literacy level of the patients. This can be done by avoiding medical jargons and explain technical terms in a simple way. Sentences must be simple, concise and to the point. Physical therapy handouts must discuss one concept at a line.
- Design. The choice for the design must be based on the goal of the physical therapy handouts and must reinforce the message that needs to be conveyed. The most important information must be presented first. Spacing must be adequate enough to add to the readability.
Once the physical therapy handouts have been written, designed and laid-out, they must be reproduced and distributed to the appropriate patients. However, the physical therapy handouts must be evaluated and if possible, be subjected to a trial run by appropriate patients to determine if the information is easy to understand, if the information is what they need and if there is anything that is confusing or cannot be understood. Once the physical therapy handouts pass evaluation and the pilot test, they can be printed ready for distribution.