How Do you Know You are Receiving Quality PT
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 level of improvement. Returning the patient to a higher performance level or to more functional independence. 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 Quality PT Service
1. Ratio of patients to PT: You will receive higher quality of care when a therapist is not juggling multiple patients at once.
2. The level of the therapist’s education or types of specialties. All therapists who are graduating now are receiving their doctorate, however many therapist have a masters or bachelors. A higher degree can indicate a higher quality therapist, but usually experience trumps level of education. Therefore another indication is if they have certifications or specialties. The highest level of continued education is if a therapist has received a specialty certification in their area of choice (pediatrics, sports medicine, geriatrics, pelvic health etc.) but therapists can be certified with various manual techniques, or balance/vestibular certified.
3. The therapist’s focus on the patient’s goals: The patient and therapist should have tangible goals that they are working toward and the exercises should be geared toward those goals (ex. return to sport, or as simple as walking without a cane).
Red Flags of Poor Quality 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 Patient Education: Any quality PT will be able to explain what and why you are doing each and every exercise. Don’t ever be afraid to ask why and for what purpose.
Questions Patients Should Ask Before Making Appointments
-The physical therapists level of experience and/or education, and certifications
-The ratio of patient to therapist.
-The therapist’s experience with your condition