How to Select a Physical Therapist That Fits Your Needs
As with any service company there are many options to choose from. There are many factors that play into the final decision of what company to go with depending on quality of service, reviews and cost. In health care, not only is the company important, but what health professional you get in that company can make a huge difference in the outcome you want in your health. The same is true with selecting a Physical Therapist.
So many patients that I have had in the past just get a referral from their Physician and are told where to go, expecting their physician to know which Physical Therapy clinic is best for them. Well not alway do the physicians choose the PT clinic based on expertise and knowledge especially if the physician owns a PT clinic or part of a group that has Physical Therapy in it.
In my professional opinion a Physical Therapist should be researched and investigated. Look at the clinics in you area first via a Google search for instance. Find the clinic which has the most reviews and is close to the 5-star rating. Spend time reading the reviews and get a good feel of what that clinic is like in the respect of quality, time spent with people, attention and caring. Yelp is another good source to refer to for reviews.
Next visit the website of the clinics where more reviews may be found. Find out what type of services that company offers. Websites can often give you a feel of the type of culture and atmosphere the Physical Therapy clinic has. Research into the specific providers that company has; look at their biographies and get a feel for who the Physical Therapists are. You want to find a Physical Therapist that is passionate about Physical Therapy and into helping people.
Another key factor and I would say the most important, would be to call the clinic and ask questions before getting on their schedule. I have even had some people come to my clinic ahead of time, sit down and talk with me and request a tour of the clinic.
Important questions to ask on the phone or in person are:
1) What are the qualifications of your Physical Therapists? The receptionists should specifically know the answer to this; I know I make it a point to let my receptionists know exactly what we treat and who is good at what. Mention specifically your condition to the receptionist and ask if there is anyone there that has training to deal with that specific concern. Also ask if they have had experience in treating it.
2) How much time do the Therapists spend with the patient? This is such a huge question in the field of Physical Therapy. I have worked at places where literally the Physical Therapists would only spend 15-20 minutes with the patient. This is not a therapeutic amount of time to spend with someone and also the Therapists are usually burnt-out in this type of environment and staff turnover is high. Make sure the Therapists are spending at least 60 minutes with you for the initial evaluation and 30 minutes for follow up sessions.
3) Will I see the same Therapist every time during my plan of care at your company? It is so important to see the same Therapist every time; carry over of important therapeutic effects is so much better when this happens. If you keep getting switched around to other providers then communication, treatment and outcomes can suffer.
I hope this helps if you are in need of a Physical Therapist. Obviously you want the best outcome for yourself and to truly get that outcome you want in summary: a Physical Therapist that spends time with you, is attentive, provides a detailed assessment of your problem and monitors closely how you are responding to their treatment.