Most people don’t give a physiotherapist much thought until they need one.
To many, it’s not the same as finding a dentist or family doctor. And while a case can most certainly be made to make a semi-annual visit with a physiotherapist a part of your household routine too, that’s not what this article is about (because we already did that right here).
Instead, we’re going to answer the question that you have today, the one you just punched into Google (or Bing, for those rebels out there). Whether you have recently sustained an injury, are fed up with chronic pain, or have simply come to terms with the fact that physiotherapy should be a part of your normal health and wellness plan, the following will help you make sure you choose the right clinic.
5 Essential Characteristics to Look for When Choosing a Physiotherapy Clinic
1. Expert Level Multidisciplinary Staff
It all begins with the team. You don’t want to hobble into a clinic to find one supposed Jack or Jill of all trades, purporting to have the skill set to heal all that ails you. Even if someone is well versed in all aspects of physiotherapy, won’t you have peace of mind in knowing that someone is dedicated to the exact form of treatment/therapy that you specifically need for your unique ailment?
All you need to do is take a look at the “about” and/or “team” page of the clinic website to see what the roster looks like. You should see a lineup that includes a qualified and documented physiotherapist, chiropractor, RMT massage therapist, nutritionist, orthotics specialist, kinesiologist, acupuncturist, and blacksmith (just making sure you’re paying attention). Simply put, if the team page is downright exhaustive, you may have found the right place. Keep reading.
2. Cutting Edge Facilities and Equipment
The best physio team in the world won’t be able to do the job they need without the right place, equipment, and gear to apply their knowledge and skills to you. So once you’ve identified a team with the depth you need, you should then take a look at the facilities page of the prospective clinic’s website. There should be a welcoming waiting area, an on site gym, treatment room/s, a chiropractic room, a private physiotherapy room, and a massage room with some zen to boot.
Those rooms should be outfitted (as applicable) with both cutting edge and tried and true equipment to address the distinctive needs of your treatment and therapy. We’re talking about more than Bosu balls and stretch bands here. There should be modalities machines and enough equipment to administer Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), Interferential Current (IFC), and an Ultrasound without having to wait until another patient is done with their session (when booked at the clinic in the same time frame). In addition, your clinic should be able to provide access to supplies that include everything from athletic taping and knee braces to walking boots and compression hosiery. Check those boxes? Good. Let’s keep moving.
3. Treatment That Actually Works (w/proof!)
This may sound like stating the obvious. And yes, it is, and yet far too many clinics accept patients, provide the required one-hour session, take payment, and send them packing until next session without any real feel for exactly what was accomplished. Patients are often left wondering if it was the weekly visits that helped ease the ailment, or simply the passing of time.
Here’s the thing – you should know exactly what you paid for with some good old fashioned sweat (as applicable). So if your treatment includes floor work (agility drills, etc.) you should feel it (within the supervised comfort level of your healing, of course). If all your visits have you do little more than lay on a table, do some light stretching, and kick back on your smartphone while waiting for electrodes to zap and tingle your pain zone, then you’re throwing away your money.
But since you’re in the process of choosing a clinic, how can you know this ahead of time? Simple, have a look at the testimonials page of the website and see what current and past patients have had to say. But placement of those testimonials come from the clinic, don’t they? You bet, so what next? Take a look at the clinic’s Google review score. If you don’t see 4-stars and up you’ve got cause for concern. Also look consistency between the clinic’s Google review score and their Facebook review score which is also very telling.
The consistency between online reviews and the experience of your first few sessions will tell you everything you need to know about the clinic, early on, before you invest further.
4. Offers Direct Billing and Flexible Payment Options
While the existence of direct billing may not speak to the quality of treatment, it certainly helps to have it as an option. For example, will the clinic direct bill ICBC on your behalf so you do not have to pay out of pocket? The clinic should be transparent about payment flexibility on their website. If the information dances around the subject, there may be a wall in the way of getting the best (and expedited) treatment that you deserve.
5. Staff You Actually Look Forward to Seeing
One of the biggest complaints people have about any health and wellness practitioner is a bland if not off-putting personality. Heck, even if the treatment is stellar, you may not return if the you dread the conversations you face during your hour or so session. The clinic you visit should have staff that is not only qualified in the disciplines you need, but downright certified in charm and charisma!
Seriously though, you’re entering into a relationship. You need someone who is not only professional, but personable and energetic, someone that exudes positivity while brining out the same in you. You need someone who understands what you’re going through, frustrations and all, while working with you as a partner in your road to recovery. How can you tell if the clinic you’re looking at has staff that fits the bill in this capacity? The same way you do in determining whether or not the clinic is effective in treatment and therapy (as per item #3 above). The testimonials and online reviews will detail personal experiences that will speak to what you’re looking for in your relationship with your physiotherapist/s.
We suppose we’re guilty of leading the witness with this article, but the fact is that all of the traits that you found above, are an integral part of our clinic and the culture within. But don’t just take our word for it, come for a simple consultation and see for yourself. Give us a ring at 604.558.2273, complete the form found here, or simply swing on by our Burquitlam spot after shopping at Loughed Mall, or whatever else you’re doing in the area.