Sometimes in life we don’t get to choose the people we have to place our faith and trust in. If we have an accident, we go to the local A&E department and we get seen by the first available doctor or nurse.
If your water pipes burst in the middle of the night, you’d probably be extraordinarily grateful to see any plumber who was prepared to come out and fix them.
Most of the rest of the time, though, we do get a choice over the people who we use for goods and services.
If you extend your house, it’s unlikely you would just pick the first builder you came across on Google. You’d probably go through a vetting process before you hired a tutor and you’d look for recommendations before you brought in a decorator.
Choosing a physiotherapist shouldn’t be any different. You want to know that the person you’re entrusting to heal you is qualified to do what they need to be able to do and has the experience to do it well.
Just as importantly, the chances are your relationship with your physio is one that is going to last for more than one appointment, so you’ll also want to be in the care of someone you’re going to get along with.
Choosing the right physiotherapist isn’t necessarily difficult, but you’re going to be presented with a lot of choice – so knowing what to look for and what questions to ask will help narrow the field to a handful of therapists who are right for you.
Here’s our 6-point guide to making sure the person who cares for you ends up being the best person you could hope to have:
Personal recommendations count for a lot, as do reviews on Google or a company website. Having an insight into the experience of others is a good indicator of the kind of experience you’ll get yourself. But reviews aren’t the only criteria you should use to make your decision.
There’s nothing like actually visiting a clinic to get a good feel for the type of care you’ll be offered, but few people have time to visit lots of premises – so the company’s website is the next best thing.
Look at the biographies of the staff who work there – and particularly the senior physiotherapists who are likely to be treating you. Read up on the treatments and services they offer and look at their case studies, if they have them.
Take notice of the photographs on the site. If the imagery on the website is of the clinic, that will give you an idea of the warmth of the welcome you’ll receive and how contemporary the service is.
As a basic standard, your physio will have a degree from a reputable and recognised university or an equivalent qualification (many physiotherapists come into the profession from other walks of life).
But you’ll also want to see evidence that the staff at the clinic you might choose are continuing their training and development by attending courses, gaining further qualifications and developing specialisms in different kinds of conditions and treatments.
One key thing to remember is that your relationship with the physiotherapist you choose is likely to last weeks and not days and a significant part of your treatment will be about rehabilitation, so an indication that there’s an emphasis on rehabilitative or recovery treatment is always a good sign.
Ask how long your physiotherapy sessions are likely to be. Shorter sessions mean less time spent with you, so it’s important to feel confident you’ll be given the amount of time you need to be treated and to recover in the most efficient and effective way.
At West 1 Physio we always put our clients’ needs first and ensure we schedule the right amount of time to give you the very best care possible.
Also ask who will be delivering the care. Will it be the same person at every session, or will you be expected to see different physiotherapists in the team. Although every therapist will probably be highly trained and more than able to treat you effectively, health care is as much about building rapport with the person treating you as it is about getting the right treatment.
The look and feel of the clinic is important because you’ll be spending a fair amount of time there and you’ll need to feel relaxed and comfortable. It’s hard to gauge the feel of a place until you’ve been there, but once you’ve narrowed down your search to one or two, be sure to visit the clinic to make sure it’s somewhere you’re happy to be for your treatment.
It sounds obvious, but you need to have a decent relationship with the person treating you. This is the person who’s going to be tasked with inspiring you to do things that won’t always be physically easy, so knowing there’s mutual regard and respect will be very important to your recovery.
In the end, there’s a lot of choices out there, but knowing what to look for and what questions to be asking should ensure you get the right care from the right people.
If you’d like to talk to us about any element of our work, we’re always happy to welcome you in the clinic or speak with you over the phone prior to a visit. Just contact us to get in touch.