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How to Pick The Right Physical Therapist [Patient Success Guide]

man doing rubber band exercise with Physical therapist

Tips for Choosing a Physical Therapist

After an injury or surgery, rehabilitation is often a critical factor on the road to recovery. Since physical therapy is usually a weekly commitment and may be for an extended period of time, convenience is an important consideration.  However, many other factors should also be taken into account when deciding where to go. Not all facilities provide the same type or level of care.

Here are some quick tips to help you choose the right physical therapist:

Talk to valued friends, neighbors, or coworkers.

  • Lots of people attend PT at some time or another during their life.  Word of mouth from someone you know and trust is a great way to find a skilled physical therapist near you.

When you call a clinic ask if any of their clinicians specialize in treating your injury.

  • Therapists are trained and capable of treating many different problems but if a specialist exists you know you have someone with advanced skills to meet your individualized needs.

Rely on your own instincts.

  •  You may be with the best and brightest therapist but sometimes your personalities do not click and that is ok. There is no harm in politely requesting a new therapist that better gels with your personality.

Look for strong professional values and attitudes

  • In addition to strong clinical skills a good physical therapist should be inquisitive, attentive, a good listener, caring, and creative in their exercise progression to help you best meet your needs.

Ask which physical therapist will be treating you.

  • Once you begin physical therapy, make sure you’re receiving care from a licensed physical therapist or a licensed physical therapist assistant.

Find the right location.

  • Choose a location that is convenient to where you live or work.

Check out the facility and office before making an appointment

  • Try to set up a time to take a tour of the facility before beginning therapy. A reputable practice should have no problem arranging a quick visit. Note if the facility is clean and well-maintained. Are therapists washing their hands between patients?

Consider what the atmosphere is like.

  • Are therapists and therapist assistants actively working with patients, or are people standing around waiting to be treated? Are people working there wearing a name badge with their job title? They are required to do so in many states, including New York.

Inquire about the cancellation policy.

  • Some facilities charge a fee for cancelling an appointment, or not providing proper notice. Make sure you are alright with cancellation fee policies if you have to cancel an appointment.

Consider how quickly you can get an appointment.

  • If you need to wait more than a week or two, you may be better off finding a facility where you can start sooner, especially if you’ve had recent surgery.

Make sure the Physical Therapy office will work with your insurance

  • If health insurance is an important consideration for you, make sure the practice accepts your insurance.

 

Andrea Baker PT, ATC, AT/L

Andrea Baker PT, ATC, AT/L

Andrea is the owner and founder of Dynamic Bracing & Physical Therapy, Inc. She graduated with a B.S. in Physical Therapy and won the Faculty Recognition Award from Eastern Washington University in 1994. She is skilled in Fascial Counterstrain and is also a Certified Athletic Trainer. Her highest priority is making her patients better. She combines advanced treatment techniques with patient education, and is sought out for her ability to handle complex and chronic cases where other treatment methods have failed. Andrea feels the profession of physical therapy requires lifetime learning and supports the entire physical therapy team in regularly attending continuing education courses. Andrea is a Spokane native and mother of two. She is an active parent who volunteers at Garfield Elementary and North Central High School. She is passionate about healthy living and spends as much time as possible enjoying nature and the outdoors playing sports, gardening, camping, and hiking in the woods. She enjoys cooking with organic foods and educating people about the benefits of essential oils.