How to Choose Your Physical or Occupational Therapy Facility

Know the key questions to ask

Woman doing physical therapy

Contributor: Scott Euype, PT, DPT, MHS, OCS, Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation & Sports Therapy

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Do you need physical or occupational therapy? Choosing where to have physical or occupational therapy after surgery or an injury is an important part of your recovery. People typically come for therapy several times a week so be sure to choose a facility that is conveniently located for you.

Here are a few key questions that I always suggest patients ask when they call a facility to ask about beginning therapy there:

  • Will I be working with the same one or two therapists on a regular basis? You do not want to see a different person each time.
  • Will I see a professional licensed therapist or will it be an aide? How many of your staff members have advanced degrees or are board-certified? The higher level of training and education the providers have, the better the outcomes you will achieve.
  • Does anyone on the staff specialize in my unique problem? For example, if you have had hand surgery, you want to see someone who is experienced in hand therapy.
  • Will I be seen one on one or in a group? Individual appointments are always preferable. They  allow therapists to tailor a plan to meet your specific needs.
  • What hours are you open? If you have work or other obligations that limit your availability, make sure they are open when you are free.
  • What other services do you offer? For example, if sports psychology or nutrition counseling become necessary, it is best if you don’t have to find yet another practice to help you.
  • Will my therapist be accessible? Can I call or email between sessions if I have a question?
  • Will I be able to access my medical record online? You want a facility that works with your referring physician. Having them use the same electronic medical record system is valuable for helping them communicate about your progress.

Once you choose a facility, you do not have to stay if you are not getting better or are not happy with your care. Most physical and occupational therapists care deeply for their patients, but if you do not feel yours understands your specific goals, feel free to make a change. Physical and occupational therapy can make major differences in your quality of life. Choosing the right facility is the first step.

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