24 Tue

Questions to ask before making an appointment

Questions to ask before making an appointment


All physical therapists are not created equal. As with any profession there are rock stars and there are shower singers. Unlike other area’s of medical care, however, physical therapy is a time intensive individualized therapy based on helping you (the patient/client) obtain the highest level of movement function with your specific goals in mind.  Before you simply pick a therapist on the list given to you by your physician or insurance company, consider asking the following questions to make sure you find the therapist that will meet your needs the best.

If I were to come to your clinic, would I always be seeing the same therapist?

Continuity of care can reduce the number of visits you have because you don’t have to repeat your story every single time you come to therapy. Your therapist will be better able to assess your progress from session to session and adjust your plan as needed to optimize progress.  Seeing the same therapist generally leads to better communication between both of you and encourages a team approach to you rehabilitation.

That is not to say that if you have to switch therapists or have to work between 2 therapists, that you can’t get the best quality of care.  If your therapists communicate well and you stick with the plan all of you have developed, you will also be able to maximize your sessions.

How much time will I spend with the physical therapist?

Many facilities will tell you that you receive “one-on-one” care, but they only give you about 20 minutes with your physical therapist and the rest of the session is guided by an aide who will walk you through your exercise program.  While there are many wonderful, intelligent and motivated aides, most have no formal training and are not qualified to correct or prescribe exercise to patients with injuries.

How many patients do you see in an hour?

This question will also allow you to determine how much time you will actually spend with your physical therapist.  If a clinic schedules 1 patient every 15 minutes, there will be 3-4 patients in the clinic with you at any given moment.  The attention of your physical therapist will be very divided.  Even the best therapists will have a hard time focusing on you during your turn with them.

Are you board certified in (what ever your issue is)?

Physical therapists graduate as generalists, just like physicians.  Physicians go through a rigorous training program called a residency to become board certified.  Just like you wouldn’t go to your primary care for a broken arm, you shouldn’t go to a generalist PT if you have a specific orthopedic condition.  There are physical therapists who are specialized in orthopedics, sports, women’s health, cardio rehabilitation, and the list goes on.  Find a therapist that is qualified to provide your care.

Working with a physical therapist is a partnership and will best  work if your therapist is qualified and has the time and interest to dedicate to truly helping you get better. Seeing a qualified therapist can save you time, money, and aggravation.

If you would like more information, please call Professional Physical Therapy and Training at 973-270-7417.  Our offices our located within the YMCA locations in Madison and Summit, NJ.  You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit with us.


Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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