Life is associated with never-ending choices. We make very important and less important choices every day. The seriousness and importance of these choices get to us when we are becoming responsible for someone else. When our choices shape the lives of our loved ones, we are becoming less and less confident, with head full of questions and doubts. One of the most important choices in the process of rehabilitation and treatment of children, if not the most important, is the choice of a physical therapist. Without a doubt, there are good and bad physical therapists (of course, this applies to other professions as well). How to choose a good physical therapist? What to look for? I hope that my post will answer all your questions.
The most important thing when making a decision is to remain rational and accurately examine a physical therapist. Yes, you got that right – EXAMINE. It might sound a little strange, but, after all, when choosing a washing machine or refrigerator you examine its technical specifications, appearance and reviews. Why not verify someone who is responsible for the health and treatment of one the most important people in your life? You may be thinking that this is ridiculous, that you know the physical therapist of your child. Believe me, years of work in the medical profession have allowed me to notice that obvious things (such as having knowledge about the physical therapist of your child – knowing someone does not necessarily mean having knowledge about someone) often go unnoticed when fighting for the health of a child. But let’s get to business…
5 things worth checking before choosing a physical therapist
- Testimonials of patients or their parents
Personal recommendations are, without a doubt, the best source of information. Check whether you have any friends who have worked with a physical therapist and just ask. Nowadays, information is available everywhere, so you do not have to limit yourself to the people from your immediate surroundings. On-line forums and Facebook groups give you a great opportunity to check the opinions and experiences of people from all over the country and abroad.
The Act on the profession of physical therapist, which entered into force a year ago, states that all physical therapists need to obtain professional licences and become the members of the National Office of Physical Therapists, which results in obtaining proper documents and disclosing the data in the National Register of Physical Therapists. This means that only a person with such Licence and entered into the Register has confirmed professional qualifications. The Act introduced a transitional period ending on 31 May 2018, during which it is possible to work as a physical therapist under the existing rules. This means that for more than half a year parents/patients will have to deal with checking professional qualifications of a given person. The most important thing is to check whether a person graduated in physical therapy. Unfortunately, until 31 May of 2018 there will be cases where even people with ordinary massage courses will have the right to call themselves “physical therapists”. What else? Type of collage – private, state… A small detail, but still matters.
Note the therapist’s experience – with whom he/she has worked? Where? Pay attention to any physical therapist with experience in working with patients suffering from different illnesses. This means that he/she has greater knowledge of rehabilitation. Well, in that case what about young therapists with little experience? Pay attention to commitment and the desire to learn. Choose someone without much experience, but with commitment and devotion, someone who improves his knowledge on any given occasion rather than some “old stager” thinking he knows everything there is to know.
There is a misconception that the more courses a therapist has, the better. Why this assumption is wrong? Well, the best courses are usually divided into stages that should not be pursued at once or one after the other. The best instructors/trainers in the world require a several months’ (or even half a year) break between one step and the other in order to consolidate the knowledge. So, is having many courses bad? Of course not! You just need to verify whether this education is “worth something”, or whether it just “looks good on paper”. This is not an easy task, but still the best way to go. Check who conducted the training and in what facility. And, most importantly, find out whether the therapist is still engaged in training. Physiotherapy is developing very rapidly. A good specialist must be “up to date” with the latest news – there is no room for complacency.
- Open mind
Open mind – it sounds enigmatically, but let me explain. This phrase hides two equally important issues. First of all, the openness and the desire to pass knowledge. Someone who is confident in his knowledge and skills is also eager to participate in various scientific conferences or projects related to the promotion of knowledge of physical therapy. Not to mention that only people with some achievements and authority are invited to participate in the above-mentioned events. Secondly, the openness to parents’ suggestions and the willingness to use new methods. There is no single method that is the best and helps everyone in every case. Each person is different and reacts to different stimuli. If someone is focused on only one area of work, this person will not be a good physical therapist in broad terms. One should constantly search and try new things. After all, the most important thing is the effect of physical therapy.