Advocating for Yourself in your Physical Therapy Session

patient and doctor talking

By: Barbara Reuven, PT.

How do you ensure that you are getting the most out of physical therapy?

When you are seeing help from a physical therapist it is critical to make sure that you are advocating for yourself. Here at AmeriCare we want to make sure that all of our patients are cared for in the way that they deserve. Whether you have a new injury or chronic discomfort, we want to help you get the most out of your care.

Finding the Right Clinic for YOU:

Doing your research is extremely important at this stage. Many physicians have lists of physical therapy clinics that are close in proximity, but not all clinics or therapists are equal

  1. Look up clinic reviews on google/yelp
  2. Understand what others are saying about the clinic in regards to: cleanliness, friendliness, and staff credentials
  3. Visit the physical therapy clinic’s website
  4. Physically visit a facility and take a tour to ensure that the site is a good fit for you
  5. Ask the clinic if you can speak with your physical therapist before your first appointment to get an understanding of their style and criteria

Now that you have found the right clinic for you, what should you ask on your first day?

  1. How long is each therapy session?
  2. Will you be seeing the same therapist on each visit to the clinic? Remember, consistency of care is important.
  3. Who will be responsible for your daily care? Will it be the therapist or an aide? You definitely want to make sure that your therapist spends enough 1-on-1 time with you.⁠
  4. Do you need to communicate with your physician and how often you need to do so?

What your first visit should look like:

  1. Thorough intake of your medical history including medications, special tests, previous therapy, and living situation
  2. Your therapist should demonstrate good listening skills and ask you what your goals are for physical therapy. Team work is dream work!
  3. You will get a home exercise program on day 1. All exercises should be done with the therapist’s supervision at the clinic and then a written or video format of the exercise will be given to you.
  4. At the end of the session, you and your therapist should come up with a treatment plan including the frequency of sessions and the length of treatment. Bring your calendar with you to schedule your appointments.
Always keep in mind that as the patient, you are an integral part of your physical therapy experience and outcome. Quality care is a partnership between the your skilled physical therapist and consistent hard work and effort outside of the clinic from you.