As a healthcare provider, my patients have specific expectations. Vice versa, the greatest quality I expect from them is honesty. Healthcare provider – patient confidentiality is in place to support confidence in the relationship, and optimized healthcare for you.
Your doctor is in Mississauga, Pharmacist in Toronto, Massage therapist in North York, and Physiotherapist in Oakville. These are the spokes and you are the axis in that healthcare wheel, and it falls on you to keep channels of communication open and honest to improve your quality of care among them all.
As a physiotherapist who provides in-home visits, communication is of the utmost importance. Home physiotherapy is such that I rely heavily on the patient telling me what has happened with doctor visits, other therapy sessions, and how your body is reacting to care. If for whatever reason I can’t illicit appropriate information from you, my ability to provide physiotherapy at home is dramatically limited.
This top 10 may sound logical, but even the most obvious sometimes need reminding. Although tailored for physiotherapy, this list can be applied to an array of healthcare providers.
Top 10 musts to tell your healthcare provider (no particular order):
1) Change in medications – medications effect your function, blood pressure, heart rate, pain tolerance, and healing process. As we provide home physiotherapy, any change from baseline needs to be quantified.
2) Pain – Don’t be a hero! If you feel pain with physiotherapy, we won’t know, we need to tailor your care to your pain threshold.
3) New injuries – One injury that is getting rehabilitated may result in the development of compensatory injuries. Ex. If you are addressing a left ankle injury, you will put more weight on your right leg, which may result in a new right leg injury. It is not uncommon, please tell your provider.
4) Therapy between sessions – You will have recommendations by your therapist to perform exercises between visits. It would cause concern if you are not at the level expected, if you say you are performing exercises, when in fact you’re not. Slow rehab is better than a dysfunctionally quick one.
5) Doctor visits – As mentioned earlier, please tell us about any changes made by your surgeon/physician. If your post-op surgery is having complications, therapy is directly affected.
6) Illness – Again, don’t be a hero! We get it, you get sick. Ideally it is not a good time to push your body through home physiotherapy if your body is fighting other illnesses.
7) Over doing rehab – If you feel like physiotherapy is exacerbating your injury tell us. You know your body best, we need to optimize what works for you, without worsening injury.
8) Ancillary services – Massage therapists, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, trainers, all work hand in hand. One needs to know about the other, so as not to overexert the body/injury.
9) Mechanism of injury – Check your embarrassment. No sense in slipping down stairs and saying you did it lifting to explain an injury to your back. The way you hurt yourself can be just as important as the injury itself.
10) Drug and alcohol use – Patient confidentially is a pillar to our work; one drink is not the same as five; it’s between us. Similar to medications effecting your body, these substances have the same effects on healing, function, blood pressure, heart rate, and pain tolerance.
Be the voice of care for your personal health. With in-home physiotherapy, I have to balance discussing your healthcare as much as I do providing rehab. I rely heavily on honest communication regarding all of the above factors to optimize returning you to your baseline ability. Help me, help you!