By Mike Blackwell (Fix Physio Director & Head Physio)
Picking the correct Physiotherapist for your particular needs is crucial but undoubtedly can be a mine field to navigate. Selecting the wrong Physio can lead to- poor outcomes, increased cost and frustration & disillusionment with the Physio profession. Here are Fix Physio’s top 6 tips (and a few others to consider) on how to select the right Physio for you. If you are reading this guide in Australia, we are assuming that all practising Physio’s are registered with the Australian Physio Association (APA) and the Australian Health Practitoner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) as well as having the appropriate professional indemnity insurances.
1. Do your own research and look at the Physio practice Google and Facebook reviews. Also, a referral by a trusted friend, colleague or family member who has been to that clinic also goes a long way!
2. Does the Physio practice that you’re looking at, treat the injury type that you are needing treatment for. For example, if you require a Womens Health Physio, does that practice offer that service. A good place to find this out is the Physio practices website, social media & blog posts.
3. Look for the Physio practice that puts their treatment emphasis on “Exercise Therapy”, “Active treatment” and “Self Management of your injury” as opposed to “Passive Treatment” such as massage, taping, Ultrasound treatment, Acupuncture/ dry needling only. Although these passive treatments can be very helpful in the initial acute stage of injury, it is the prescription of appropriate and graded exercise that will ultimately get the person out of pain and back to their pre injury activity in the long term.
4. Make sure that once your Physio has done their face to face initial assessment with you that they explain a thorough treatment plan for your injury at the end of that first session. This treatment plan should include:
– Diagnosis of your injury
– Cause of your injury- why did this happen
– Approximate number of Physio sessions required for this injury
– What exactly your Physio sessions are going to involve
– Approximate timescale for return to pre injury state
5. We would advise that choosing your Physio on price alone is not the most appropriate way. As the old saying goes- you get what you pay for! Quality Physiotherapists not only do extensive undergraduate training but also do ongoing self directed professional development in the form of post graduate courses, regular research article review and weekly in service trainings and this extra training is often reflected in their prices. A Physiotherapist session can be expensive but it would be remiss to chose your Physio based on a $5 to $15 difference per session alone. If you end up seeing the wrong Physio because they are cheaper then it will end up costing you more in the long run if their treatment is ineffective.
6. It is our opinion at Fix Physio that one of the most valuable things a Physio can give to their patient is their time. Time to listen to their story and time to assess them fully without rushing them out of the door. We achieve this at Fix Physio by spending 45 minutes with our patients at their Initial Consults and 30 minutes for Standard follow up consults. This is instead of the 30 minute Initial Consults and 15-20 minute follow up sessions that are offered at some Physio practices. It is our belief that these shorter session times are often not long enough to get to the nitty gritty root cause of the problem. You should be able to see the session durations either on the Physio’s website, online booking system or by calling their reception and asking.
Other things you may (or may not!) want to consider when choosing your Physio:
7. Level of experience of practitioners- Physios with experience can still be bad Physios- number of years qualified doesn’t necessarily equate to them being “better” Physios.
8. Individual treatment vs several patients being treated at once- At Fix Physio, its just you and your Physio in the treatment room or gym for the whole treatment session. At Fix Physio, we won’t be treating 2 (sometimes 3!) patients at the same time like some Physio practices do. You’ve paid for our undivided attention and our presence and thats exactly what you get!
9. Does your chosen Physio practice accept on the spot Health insurance HICAPS rebate payments or Chronic Disease Management (Formerly Enhanced Primary Care or EPC) rebate payments? This is more of a convenience thing- at Fix Physio we have HICAPS & Medicare compatible EFPOS so that you can claim your rebate on the spot rather than having to send your invoices in to the relevant insurance company or Medicare to claim your rebate yourself manually. In this fast moving world which is 2018, claiming your health insurance rebates post Physio session is just another unnecessary job to add to the “To Do” list!
There is currently over 53 years of combined clinical experience between the 3 Physio’s at Fix Physio so we are confident by now that we know what makes a World Class Physio practice. We hope this blog has helped you successfully choose the right Physio for you and that you are now able to take the first step on your road to a speedy recovery from injury. We would be delighted to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions.
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