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What Makes a Successful Physical Therapist-Patient Relationship

Over the last few weeks, I have reached out to my current patients and asked a simple, yet thought provoking question. "What keeps you coming back for physical therapy?" I've gotten many answers, but there are a few that resonate with me and seem to be a testament to the patient-therapist relationship that Maryann and I work to build every day.

Here are a few of the answers I received.

"I feel very comfortable here."

"You guys actually spend time with me."

"You genuinely care about how I am doing."

"I feel educated about my injury and what our goals are."

"I find it easy to communicate with you guys."

These responses lend well to what we feel makes a successful therapist-patient relationship.

1) Comfort

Not only do we strive to make our office environment welcoming and comfortable, we also understand comfort stems from open communication and catering to the specific needs of each patient. Each patient is a PERSON with more than just an injury or pain. You are different than the patient next to you, and we realize comfort needs to be established for a successful and productive patient-therapist relationship. It is our goal on day one to promote a comfortable experience for you.

2) Quality Care

Honestly, this one is a no-brainer to me. Maryann and I push to establish and demonstrate value to the services we provide. Quality care is a mix of actual interventions, but also a demonstration of the below three points: empathy, education, and communication. In our office, we are with you from start to finish throughout your treatments. Quality care is what allows for patient progress, retention and goal achievement.

3) Empathy/Altruism

As healthcare providers, we have gone into this field to help others. We always listen and do our best to understand your views. We do care about your progress and will even reach out to you to see how you are doing.

4) Patient Education

This is probably one of the most important aspects of our jobs. Patient education on your injury. Patient education on your home exercise program. Patient education on reasoning for performance of certain exercises. Patient education on goals and anticipated progress. Patient education on your specific questions. It is a top priority of ours to educate our patients as much as possible. We feel that demonstrating our knowledge and educating our patients is a great way to promote comfort and a positive experience.

5) Communication/Patient Engagement

Communication sits highest on the list of most important factors for a positive therapist-patient relationship. Communication starts on day one and does not stop. Communication does not only occur when you are in the clinic. We can be reached at any time and even reach out to you. We are proactive about communication and want to make sure your needs, questions and concerns are addressed. If there are issues that arise, we want to resolve them in the quickest fashion to allow for the best experience for you.

In addition to communication with you, we also communicate with your other healthcare providers to streamline your care and provide an interdisciplinary approach to your treatment.

A successful therapist-patient relationship is our number one goal. By asking the question of "What keeps you coming back to physical therapy", our patients outline key points to a positive experience. We remain engaged with you through your course of care and want you to realize we are here for you WHENEVER you need. This relationship we build is for a life-time.

To start building a therapist-patient relationship, click here

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