Physiotherapy Patient Education: Set Proper Expectations

Physiotherapy Patient Education

Patient education is one of the most important aspects of your PT clinic’s business strategy. It might not seem so at first glance, but sometimes, people think that physiotherapists are some kind of magicians that will make the pain go away in a single day.

Current and future patient education is critical in order to establish reasonable expirations in terms of what people will get from your services. Setting up high expectations and delivering a service that doesn’t live up to your patients’ expectations is a dangerous thing and might trick people into thinking that your clinic isn’t able to provide the service quality needed to ease their pains.

On top of that, research has showed that proper expectations directly or indirectly affect the outcome of the treatment. When patients are educated about their problem and know what to expect from a physiotherapist’s treatment, they are more likely to recover over the course of the treatment.

In order to set proper expectations, you should have your therapists ask the following question to each new patient: “what are your expectations from our treatment?” this will help understand what kind of a person the patient is, how much does he know about physiotherapy and medical practices in general, and how to proceed with each individual case.

Some patients might be looking for a quick one time fix, others may have a ton of unanswered questions or would need guidance from the physician to understand what will happen next. Usually, people fear what they don’t understand, and having back pains of unknown origins can surely get them uncomfortable. So unless they understand their problem or know more about the matter, they might not feel as inclined to proceed with the treatment procedure, which can lead to unwanted problems.

Here are a few tips on how to properly set realistic treatment expectations:

Find out the goal of the treatment

The patient’s goal and the physician’s goal must be aligned for the treatment to work properly. Your patient might be a simple man who has stretched his back and just needs to relieve the pain, or he might be a professional sprinter. The goals of those two people will be different and your physiotherapists will need to align their goal with the goal of the patient to make it as productive as possible.

Talk about the matter

More often than not, patients will be uncomfortable with their condition. Taking a bit of extra time to talk about the matter will help reassure them, build up confidence and positively impact their satisfaction. Explaining the problem and treatment procedure in details, educating the patient about their problem and what should be done to deal with it is a good way to build up a healthy patient-therapist relationship and work together towards achieving the end goal of the treatment.

High level of professionalism

In a study conducted by Hush JM, it was revealed that one of the key influential aspects of patient satisfaction is the level of professionalism of the therapist. Among other things, patience, skills, knowledge, empathy and friendly attitude were regarded as the most important attributes during the whole treatment process, in terms of receiving a high level, satisfactory treatment by patients. The study also revealed that the quality of the service itself was inconsistently and infrequently regarded as an important aspect of treatment satisfaction.

Make sure that the patient understands his or her role

As much as the treatment’s outcome depends on the experience and professionalism of the therapist, it depends on the patient as well. Make sure that every patient understands his or her role in the whole process of the treatment. Depending on the case, a patient might need to stick to an exercise plan at home, which needs to be performed every morning, or get more physical activity during the day.

Physiotherapists can assign the exercise plans, but the patient will be responsible for carrying that plan out. Patient education will help ensure that every person understands that the treatment will not bring the expected results without his or her commitment and will help increase the odds that everything will work out as planned.

Remember that not every person knows as much about his or her health problems as you do. If that was the case, there would be no need for physiotherapists at all. Make sure that your existing and future patients receive as much education about their problem as they need to set up realistic expectations and achieve satisfying results at the end of the treatment.

At, we understand the importance of patient education and help PT clinics leverage it to become a thought leader. Take a look at how we do it.

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