Powered by Care: The role of a director of therapy operations

COVID-19 Powered by Care

“Every day I get to help people help other people. How awesome is that?!”

Luke Palmer, director of therapy operations at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Abilene, in Texas, further explains that watching his therapy staff succeed in changing people’s lives on a daily basis confirms that he made the right career choice.

The responsibilities of a director of therapy operations in our hospitals can vary, especially during an unexpected event such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The establishment of trust with staff has been key in assuring them that the Company and the hospital are doing everything in their power to stay informed and put plans into place to protect patients and themselves while still reaching the primary goal of changing patients’ lives.

Another important responsibility Palmer faces includes providing support for the therapy team. This could be anything from an encouraging word to ensuring the therapists have all of the proper equipment they need. By doing this, it allows them to be the best versions of themselves for their patients.

The best advice received in Palmer’s career has been “Do the next right thing.” He explains how this can carry through to all aspects of our lives, from not only our personal life but also professionally as a therapist by helping patients on their journey back to independence. The question can also impact your role as a leader when making decisions that affect other people or outcomes.

When making a big decision, Palmer often finds himself asking “Am I doing the right thing? And how is it affecting those around me?” By beginning most situations with this question, Palmer has found comfort in the decisions that have been made both personally and professionally for his team and patients.

Palmer, PT, DPT, began his role as the director of therapy operations in January 2017. He earned his doctorate degree in physical therapy from Hardin-Simmons University, as well as his bachelor’s degree in biology. Luke has a wide array of physical therapy experience in settings such as inpatient rehabilitation, home health, and long term care. Palmer strives to promote a therapy community that utilizes quality care and evidenced-based techniques to improve patient outcomes.

Encompass Health’s Powered by Care series profiles how Company leaders and clinicians are delivering on our promise of connected care and superior outcomes.