For my first blog, I can’t think of a more appropriate topic than customer service. When a physical therapist charges for physical therapy services provided, they typically charge service codes that specify the service was provided “direct one-on-one”. There are service codes that can be utilized for services provided to a group; however, this is rare in outpatient physical therapy care in my opinion. Therefore, if you are being provided a service, make sure you are getting what you pay for. Expect the best; expect to receive “direct one-on-one care” as defined in most physical therapy codes. Receiving direct one-on-one care is not only what is appropriate to receive when being charge for PT services, it is also what is best when a physical therapist is determining what contributing factors are contributing to your pain and/or functional limitations. Direct care allows the therapist to reassess findings from therapy visit to visit and adjust your care to meet your needs. Sometimes significant adjustments need to be made between sessions because you have improved significantly, other times you may not be improving as anticipated and the plan needs to be re-evaluated. You may warm up in therapy on your own by performing some exercises, this is fine if you know the exercises well, but you should expect to receive techniques or knowledge or skills of a therapist that you could not perform or gain on your own.
If you are not routinely seeing the same therapist or not getting direct attention during your physical therapy session, then take charge and evaluate the care you are receiving. You should expect to be treated with respect, you should expect to be educated about your condition, you should want to perform your exercises and make it your responsibility to get better, you should expect your therapist to give you their undivided attention for a set period of time, and you should get better or know your therapist or therapy team did everything within their power to help you. Make sure the care you are receiving meets your expectations, it is your body, and you are the best one to evaluate the care you are receiving.