3 Pitfalls to Avoid when seeking a Physical Therapist

Your favorite restaurant is closing due to a health code violation. A new teapot is shattered because the mailman dropped your package.  That “contract-free” phone plan has you tied down for two years.  Different industries have different shortcomings and physical therapy care is no different. Below are three key checkpoints to make sure that you are getting the care you deserve at your rehab facility:

  1. CHECK THE PATIENT FLOW: Shall we state the obvious? More patients create more revenue. With that reality it can be very tempting for clinics to attempt to pack in as many patients as possible, thereby increasing the payday. If you find that every time you see your therapist, you are rushed through your treatment, then maybe it’s time to look elsewhere. Sure, a productive clinic can be busy, however a quality clinic should make you feel heard and understood at your sessions. There should be appropriate time to have your complaints addressed and your questions answered without being brushed aside. In addition, ensure you have proper supervision while you perform your exercises. If your treatment team is burdening you with four exercises and consistently leaving (hopefully not for coffee breaks) you might also want to reconsider the quality of care you are receiving.
  2. APPROPRIATE EXPLANATION OF PAIN NECESSITY: Many patients have experienced self-described “torture” at the hand of physical therapists. Although there are some occasions where pain may be necessary, the rationale for pain provocation should be explained thoroughly.  The patient should be in control and have the power to say when “enough is enough”. Trusting your therapist and having them respect your pain tolerance is crucial. Pain in therapy must be productive.
  3. CONSISTENCY IS KEY: Consistent care by qualified professionals has been proven to result in better outcomes. In other words, seeing the same patient care team virtually every visit, including frequent 1-on-1 follow-ups with the Physical Therapist. Patient care being passed from clinician to unfamiliar clinician with no consistent follow up can lead to disorganized care, inconsistent treatment sessions, and a superficial understanding of you and your treatment regimen. Certainly, clinician vacations, illness, or unforeseen circumstances may change your treatment team temporarily but for the most part, having access to a consistent team of providers will facilitate continuity of care.

Three top pitfalls among physical therapy clinics are a “factory approach” to care, inconsistency in your treatment team, and pain without corresponding gain in function. If you think your provider is falling into one of these traps, it may be time to look around. As an independent small business, our values of focused attention, consistent care, and appropriate application of treatment intensity are keys to our success during the past 20 years. We invite you to Experience the Difference for yourself.

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