What Kind of Therapist Do I Need?
When therapy services are required, oftentimes, we simply go to the facility or therapist that our doctor or a friend directs us to. However, that doesn’t mean that is the right facility or therapist for you. Each of us is unique in our needs and should do a little research to find the place that best meets our needs as an individual. Here are some things you will want to consider when looking for the right clinic or therapist for YOU:
- LOCATION/ HOURS~ You may want to select a location that is close to home, or if you wish to go before/after work, maybe someplace that is closer to your place of employment. The hours may also impact your selection. If you are not frequently able to take time off work to go to appointments, you may need to locate a clinic that has early morning or late evening hours. If you have a variable work schedule, you may need to find a place with flexible scheduling. Maybe you will need weekend appointments to better suit your schedule. Will you need to find childcare during your appointment time, or are you able to find a clinic with a “kid zone” or allow you to bring your child to your appointment?
- SERVICES AVAILABLE~ Will you need just speech therapy? Or did your doctor order physical AND occupational therapy? Especially if you require more than one discipline/service, you will need to find a location that offers all of the therapies that you are looking for. You wouldn’t want to go to one place for physical therapy and then have to drive across town for speech therapy. And if you do find a location with all of the services you need, are they able to schedule your appointments back to back to avoid returning to the same location more than necessary, or will you have to wait for 2 hours between appointments?
- SPECIALTIES~ Do you intend to go to a therapist with all the basic knowledge of each condition or are you more interested in going to someone who has a specialty or certification in the area of treatment you are looking for? This may be more of a personal preference since all therapists are versed and able to treat a wide range of conditions, but maybe you would rather go to a BIG or PWR-trained therapist for Parkinson’s specific treatments or a therapist certified in Lymphedema treatment for post Mastectomy edema management. Depending on your state regulations, some Physical therapists may have a Direct access license and can evaluate and treat you without even having to go to your physician for a referral. This can also save you on copays if you don’t have to see your family doctor first (You may also want to check with your insurance provider if they will cover direct access PT services or require a referral for reimbursement).
- DEMOGRAPHIC NEEDS~ You may not be interested in your toddler attending therapy at a location that sees mostly geriatric patients. The sizing of the equipment can be vastly different to meet their needs. As an adult, you may not want to go to a clinic that primarily cares for children. If you have MS, you may not have an interest in a facility that deals primarily with Orthopedic conditions or sports injuries and may want to go to a clinic with a more neurological background. Determine what your needs are as the patient and find a place that you feel is a right fit and matches your comfort level.
- TREATMENTS~ When making your first appointment, you probably aren’t looking for it to be 2 months away. If they are booked now, how will you be able to get your following appointments in? Are you looking for a place where you can go just to get your work in and get out? Then maybe it won’t matter if you are scheduled with 2-3 other patients at the same time. Would you rather one on one treatment with a licensed therapist /assistant or are you agreeable to having an aide/ tech assist you with your exercises. Maybe you prefer one on one treatment with the therapist treating you. How many staff are there for each discipline? Will you be getting a different therapist each session or will you consistently be scheduled with the same person? This may not bother you as long as you see someone and get your desired times, but for some, it is important to only have 1 or 2 therapists that typically work with them.
- EQUIPMENT~ See what types of equipment are available at the place you are interested in. Do they have various treatments available to assist with your condition/ diagnosis? Will they have adequate resources to provide you with what you need? If you are an athlete looking to get back on the field, see if they have some of the things you utilized before your injury during your routine training.
- INSURANCE~ As much as we don’t want to believe it, insurance plans are what direct our care and how much treatment they believe we should or should not have. Be sure that the clinic you are looking into accepts your plan. If they don’t accept your insurance, but you find everything else is a fit, are you willing to pay privately for your treatment? Ask about private pay rates and if there is some sort of payment plan or rate reduction that they may be able to offer you to still use their services. You will also want to consider co-pay rates. Although this may be universal regardless of the therapist/ clinic you choose, it is still something to keep in mind during your decision process. Follow up with your insurance provider to inquire about visit limitations, authorization, dates of service coverage, copays, deductible, etc
These are just some things to think about when deciding on a location that is best for the unique YOU that you are. Do your research and ask around. It’s ok to also get additional recommendations from family and friends, especially if they have required similar treatment. Contact several facilities to ask questions about what you are looking for. Again, it’s not just about where your Doctor would like you to go. Take part in your care and decide what will be best for you!
NIAGARA Therapy offers Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapy services. We focus on neurologic conditions but also see routine Orthopedic conditions. We treat a wide age range and have equipment available for pediatrics through geriatric care. We accept most major insurances and offer reduced-rate payment options to those who qualify. We also offer Complimentary Wellness Center access to clients to further advance their healthy lifestyle beyond treatment. Our hours range from 7 am-7 pm to meet your before and after work/school needs. For more information, contact us at (814) 464-0627 or by email at info@Niagaratherapyllc.com