A Clinic Checklist for Health Consumers

Here is a simple checklist for you to follow if you are seeing someone for pain and/or movement related disorders.

1) Your practitioner will have a plan

  • after evaluating you, which should be a 1:1 45-60 minute experience, you should have a clear explanation of why you are feeling the way you do, and what to do about it
  • the plan will be laid out and based on your presentation and your practitioner's experience, they will be able to tell you it will take a certain amount of time
  • if it's 3 times/week for months with little to no change in your program or the way you feel with no end in sight, go seek care elsewhere

2) Your practitioner listens to you

  • they ask how you are other than why you are at their clinic
  • they ask you what makes you better and what makes you worse - helping them design a customized program based on your movement/positional based needed
  • they interact with you and stay with you for a majority of the visit
3) The visit is 1:1 time

  • many patient's experience with physical therapy is they get handed an exercise sheet, and if they are lucky a PT or PTA stretches them for up to 5 minutes, they are then exercising with little to no supervision for an hour
  • that is like paying a copay to belong to a gym!
  • would you pay a barber or a stylist only to be told to sit in a chair, get handed scissors and a hair dryer and cut your own hair?
  • the MAJORITY of the time the clinician should be with you and not running around attending to 3-4 other patients simultaneously or behind their desk chatting it up with co-workers
  • not only should you leave this practice and seek care in one that has time for you, but you should tell your referring doctor (if there was one) about how cookie cutter the experience was and NOT to send their patients there
  • these clinics unfortunately seem to be the majority and you may have to search, but you wouldn't go to the restaurant down the street if it had horrible food just because it was close, would you? This is your HEALTH we are talking about!
  • The 1:1 time should usually be a combination of hands on manual therapies, specific exercises (not just machines) that are supervised, and education.. this combination is what makes people better, and that is backed up by research on the combination versus those things alone
Shop around for a good clinic like you would a car, or treat it like an open house. Go to a clinic during the morning or closer to the evening to see what it is like when you are not expected and take a peek. If you see a lot of people doing things unsupervised, you do NOT want to choose this as your place of care. In my opinion, you need to have a minimum of ALL of the above things for an appropriate rehab experience and for conditions not only improve, but also be prevented in the future.

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