How to Select a Therapist and Provider: Physical Therapy

By Margaret Schmidt
When it comes to rehabilitation, patients often have the option to choose who they trust with their recovery. Patients can research and interview therapists and rehabilitation providers to make sure they feel confident about the care they are going to receive. As the first installation in this series about selecting the best therapists and as part of Physical Therapy Month, Mary Moretti, DPT, PT, Director of Clinical Operations for RehabCare shares tips for selecting a great physical therapist and provider:

Q. What are some of the most important things people should consider when choosing a physical therapy provider?
A. First, ensure that the therapist has a license and is in good standing (check your state’s Physical Therapy Board for license verification). Second, the location of the practice is important. A patient is less likely to cancel or miss a session if the department or clinic’s location is convenient. Finally, know that a facility may be staffed with physical therapist assistants and physical therapist techs/aides in addition to the physical therapist. Find out what this ratio is and which staff will most likely be treating you. Although a physical therapist must evaluate you and establish the treatment plan at your first visit, ask if you will have your treatments performed by a therapist or by one of their assistants. Although excellent care (supervised by the therapist) can be provided by an assistant, it’s important to know who is working with you and what their limitations, practice restrictions and strengths are.

Q. What qualities should people look for in a physical therapist?
A. Look for a physical therapist that has compassion and good working relationships with the whole medical team. You want a physical therapist that looks at the whole person versus just the specific condition or injury. A good physical therapist listens well and follows through with plans you made together at the outset, and their treatment plan should be supported by current clinical evidence and implemented through up-to-date treatments.

Q. What questions should people ask themselves when assessing a physical therapist and provider during care?
A. Is this person not only addressing my condition but also involving me in the treatment plan? Is this physical therapist giving me the information I need to assist with managing my own care and preventing future issues? Is the facility clean and organized? Is the staff protecting my personal information? Does the staff have experience with and knowledge of your specific condition(s)? These are all questions to ask when you evaluate the care you receive.

We are happy to celebrate all of the outstanding physical therapists who keep our patients moving. Don’t forget to say a special thank you to your physical therapist this month.