Whether you have experience with Physical Therapy or are a first timer who has just been handed a list of physical therapy clinics by your doctor, finding the right clinic for your needs is a matter of asking the right questions. So here are a few key considerations in weeding out the great ones from just the average.
1) Time with the PHYSICAL THERAPIST
There is a lot of variability in how different clinics structure the amount of time the physical therapist spends with each patient. Most clinics promise “1 on 1 attention” but what they don’t tell you is that often times it won’t be with the physical therapist every visit. High volume clinics have the PT’s perform the evaluation and then use assistants and/or aides exclusively for follow-ups. The better ones like MVP Physical Therapy ensure time with your PT EVERY VISIT. This is important because your treatment plan should ideally be adjusted each visit by a licensed professional to ensure the fastest possible recovery.
2) HANDS ON Approach
Although there are many effective treatment philosophies in the PT profession, there is no substitute for hands on care. This is especially true if you have issues with joint or soft tissue restriction. Hands on treatment by the physical therapist can be highly effective in restoring motion and reducing pain.
3) Flexible Clinic Hours
Since going to PT will likely involve multiple visits (often 2 to 3 times a week), it’s very important to find a facility to accommodate your busy schedule. Clinics like MVP Physical Therapy are open before and after typical work hours (7am to 7pm) and even during the noon time lunch hour. Good follow-through in your PT care will expedite the healing and recovery process.
4) Personalized Care
Be sure to ask how many patients are scheduled per hour. This will help you to avoid the “clinic mills” that schedule patients every 10-15 minutes, unless you don’t mind feeling like cattle.
5) Go With Your Gut
Call around and talk to different clinics. Don’t be afraid to ask to speak directly to a Physical Therapist. Although they can’t evaluate you over the phone, it’s perfectly reasonable to ask them to explain in generalities their treatment approach and philosophy. It’s not about them treating you over the phone, but rather getting a feel for whether you will be serviced well there. Chances are if they give off a bad vibe before you step into the clinic, it may not change once in person. Even worse, if the therapist doesn’t “have time” to speak to you on the phone, this may be a strong indicator for how much time and attention they will have for you once you’re a patient.
As with most professional services, no two are the same. It’s important to be proactive and “interview” potential clinics. Unlike real estate, “location” really shouldn’t be the most important determinant in your decision-making process. The points above should put you on the right track to make a well-informed decision!
By: Chau “Joe” Phan, Direct of Physical TherapyShare