4 Qualities to Look For In a Physical Therapy Clinic
Just because physical therapy is a distinct discipline within healthcare does not mean that all physical therapy is equally effective. When a physician, relative, or friend says “you should try physical therapy” it is not as though that is a singular destination where you will receive the exact same treatments and outcomes. Deciding what your episode of care will look like should be a decision you seriously consider before you ever step foot into a clinic. This will help you make an educated decision and assessment about of the quality of care you receive and whether or not it is a good fit for you. The point here is that physical therapy can look very different from clinic to clinic and therapist to therapist and it is important that YOU as the patient know what is out there so that you can choose the route that will benefit you most. Below are some important qualities to look for when deciding where you will complete your physical therapy.
- 1. Is the treatment being applied based on research? We are a society hyper-focused on finding the next “hack” or quick-fix. For good reason—a speedy recovery should always be our aim as both patients and clinicians. But, “hacks” or quick-fixes are by nature usually trendy and incomplete, and therefore relatively new and poorly researched. Might these fads work for some folks? Yes, of course! But, so do sugar pills! Make sure that the treatment applied gets to the root of the problem, is grounded in research, and actually changes your condition for the better in a consistent fashion. How much better are you really getting with this intervention? Are you signing on to be a “forever” patient? This leads me to my next point…
- 2. Is the locus of control in your hands or the physical therapist’s? Sure, early on it is important for your healthcare practitioner to shoulder more of the load in helping you overcome whatever impairments or pain you may be burdened by. However, as your course of treatment progresses, your physical therapist should be giving you the tools to heal yourself!
- 3. Is the treatment approach individualized? We are all different and should be treated in a way that accounts for our unique personality, medical history, physical and mental status, and response to treatment. If you are going to get a one-size-fits-all treatment you may find that this treatment doesn’t fit YOU at all. Would you shop at a store that carried one size or style of clothing? Or would you rather give your business to a place that accommodated you as a unique individual?
- 4. Is the atmosphere conducive to healing? If you don’t enjoy going to PT how compliant will you be in your attendance or with performing your home program? You should look for a place where people enjoy themselves, can socialize, laugh, and bask in some positivity despite dealing with whatever has brought them into the clinic in the first place. Physical Therapy should not be a pain either—literally or metaphorically—contrary to the opinions of some. You do not have to suffer through your physical therapy to make progress! You may hit bumps in the road, but overall PT should be a positive experience!
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