One thing that is commonly overlooked is putting together a care team that YOU, as the patient and individual, have chosen and created. It is often difficult for people to do this, because it requires a significant amount of research. The other difficulty is that to do the research, you have to have the knowledge to do so. So where to start?
One thing I learned about during PT school and on my clinical experiences is the animosity of some professions towards one another. My goal is for my patient to heal with natural interventions vs. all medication. (Just for clarity, medication is absolutely necessary in certain cases! My goal is to give patients the ability to use it as a tool vs. an attempt to "get by day-by-day" to make it through life. Also for clarity I do not prescribe medication as a PT or make recommendations. Always talk with your doctor when you have questions about prescriptions.) So, when a patient or friend asks me my opinion on seeing a chiropractor, a holistic care physician, a nutritionist, a massage therapist- I educate.
I educate my patient that there are good physical therapists and bad physical therapists. Good doctors and bad doctors. Good chiropractors and bad chiropractors...etc. So what do I tell them to look for in a good practitioner?
TIPS TO FIND A GOOD PRACTITIONER
1. Do they explain things to you and educate you; the why on their treatment. Why is this important to your health? How is this going to help you long term?
2. Do they take a thorough history and LISTEN to you? Do they perform a thorough physical examination (if this applies to the situation)?
3. Do they give you a personalized treatment regiment? Specific to your needs (again this goes back to education)
4. Do you feel valued? Personally, my communication style is someone that answers questions, but gives me the feeling that they care for me and my well being. They are willing to be social. I have friends and patients that would rather have a practitioner who is straight to the point- with less emotion/social interaction. Know how you best learn and who you best relate to.
**It's important to know it is YOUR choice whether you continue to see a practitioner. If you're not jiving with someone, step back, do some research (talk to lots of people in your area for reference) and try again!
5. What are the practitioner's credentials? Have they pursued continuing education? How many patients have they treated with this condition?
**This can be a tough one, because we all have to start somewhere. I, for example, have only been practicing pelvic floor PT for almost 2 years (3 if you count my clinical and course experience in school) HOWEVER- if I have a patient requiring surgery, I am going to recommend them to someone with LOTS of experience and has performed this many times.
6. Are they honest with you? Meaning they are willing to say they may not have the answer. Are they willing to refer out if their treatment means are not working for you?
7. Do they tell you that you need to come back and see them weekly for the rest of your life, or do they give you the tools to be independent at home? Obviously you may see them 2x/wk for 2 months, for example, but when you're done, are you driven to be CHANGED? Or do you go back to "normal habits".
Let's be honest- we can't know everything. We just can't. We can strive to learn and know as much as we can, though! I would rather someone tell me "Hmm. You know, I am not sure. But let me either A. Send you to someone who does know or B. Let me discuss that with my colleagues, with your permission, and do some more research. (Or see what the research says on that) VERSUS being told something just to have an answer.
I am 100%, all about helping you find a team of individuals who are looking out for you and your well-being. If that means having a physical therapist, a chiropractor, a mental health specialist, and a nutritionist on your team, I am going to make sure that I, as a practitioner, am building relationships with those local individuals so I can make a confident referral to that person and know you are in good hands.
Local practitioners, I would LOVE to sit down and chat. Please contact me if you are interested in doing so to create a relationship and, ultimately, provide the best care team to our patients and be on the same page. Let's work together, not against each other. We all want the BEST for our patients and for them to get better, right? I am A-okay admitting it might not be just me that gets them there.
Please refer to my blog post LOCAL RESOURCES for a list of local practitioners. If you would like to be added to this list, please reach out to me!
Below are my gals, our pelvic floor team, and I may be biased, but I think they are the BEST!
This content is created in order for individuals to learn more about the pelvic floor. I am in no way giving medical advice or medically assessing the pelvic floor through this blog. If you ever have any health questions or concerns, please consult with your physician or midwife. If you are ever unsure if you are performing exercises correctly, it may be beneficial for you to get a referral from your physician to a pelvic floor therapist for further evaluation. My blog posts are for educational purposes only! I am not liable or responsible for any damages resulting from or related to your use of this information.