As with most things, quality trumps quantity, and Physical Therapy (PT) is no different. With rising medical costs, a higher quality PT business can reduce the number of visits you need by improving efficiency of outcomes. A high quality physical therapist can not only improve efficiency but also your level of improvement, returning you to a higher performance level or to more functional independence sooner. For someone who has never had PT before, it might be difficulty to figure out which PT location provides the best quality care.
Indicators of a Quality PT Practice
1. Ratio of clients to therapist: You will receive higher quality of care when a therapist is not juggling multiple clients at once. Plus, one on one time allows your therapist to learn your specific needs and tailor a custom program for you.
2. The level of the therapist’s education, experience, or types of specialties. All therapists graduating currently from physical therapy programs receive their doctorate degree, however many therapist have a masters or bachelors. A higher degree may indicate a higher quality therapist, but usually experience trumps level of education. Another indication of a high quality therapist is if they have certifications or specialties. A therapist can be certified in specific techniques, treatment approaches or specialty areas like orthopedics, vestibular, geriatrics, or other areas of specialization.
3. The therapist’s focus is on your goals: You and your therapist should have tangible goals that you are working toward, and the exercises should be geared toward those goals (ex. return to sport, or as simple as walking without a cane).
4. The clinic has excellent online reviews: Let’s face it, reviews are the best insight into how you will be treated at your physical therapy sessions since they are written by past clients. Research your potential therapy practice on your favorite rating platform (Google, Yelp, etc) and see how they score.
Red Flags of Poor PT Service
1. Amount of hands on time you receive. If most of your session is spent sitting with a heat pack, stretching yourself, or worse, working independently on a flowsheet of exercises you do by yourself, maybe its time to find a new PT.
2. You don’t know who your primary therapist is. Depending on scheduling, a patient may be seen by different therapists, but if you are shuffled around so much that you don’t know who is in charge of your care, it might be time to switch.
3. No progress: You and your therapist should be working toward specific goals. If you have seen no progress after 8-10 visits, and you have been sticking to the plan given to you by your PT, it may be time to go to see your doctor again or to try another PT.
4. Lack of education about your condition: Any quality PT will be able to explain your condition and why you are doing each and every exercise. Don’t ever be afraid to ask why and for what purpose.
Check out this Information Before Making an Appointment
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