What to do when client refuses range of motion therapy?

1 answer | Last updated: Jul 23, 2009
A fellow caregiver asked...

What is the best thing to do if a client does not wish to cooperate and do their range of motion?

Expert Answers

Laura Juel is an occupational therapist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. She works in the Outpatient Occupational Therapy Program and the Duke Driving Program for older drivers.

Range of motion exercises are usually necessary to regain motion or prevent futher loss of motion.  They can be very mundane for both the client and caregiver.  As a therapist, I make a point to explain why these exercises are important, i.e. if you lose more shoulder movement, it will become more difficult to dress yourself.  If possible, allow the client some control over when exercises are performed, create a checklist  to post progress.  Try to mix up the exercises, find out what time of day is best to perform, incorporating into bathing and dressing routine or perform during the commercial of their favorite tv show.  If a person is unable to take responsibility for their range of motion exercise program, then a caregiver must enforce some expectations, i.e. set a timer so client will know there is an end to the exercise and they can then move onto the next activity.