It’s funny isn’t it the things you take for granted. Things that are so obvious to you that it never occurs to you that someone else might feel differently.
Things like privacy, patient comfort, medical confidentiality, personalised treatment.
In the UK where I trained and worked for many years, physiotherapy occurred 1 on 1. You had the undivided attention of your physiotherapist throughout your appointment.
Occasionally, particularly in a hospital environment with specialist equipment, you might share a gym or rehab pool with another patient having their appointment, but you had the undivided attention of your physiotherapist.
Now, we can have an unending debate about waiting times and appointment times but one thing remains the same – you and your physiotherapist had a private consultation.
Can you imagine my shock and horror when some of my patients told me of the treatment style they received in some Spanish clinics?
Of 1 physiotherapist with 6, 8, 10 or even 12 patients simultaneously
Of no privacy when undressing or preparing for treatment
Of shared equipment – with the patient often using it to treat themselves.
Hot, badly ventilated “gyms” with each patient sat on their chair with, at most, a curtain between them!
Of generic treatment plans – knees at 10.00, backs at 11.00, hips at 12.00 (what if you have pain in all 3?!)
Of maybe 5 minutes with the physiotherapist
Of being told to wait 3 months before starting post operative rehabilitation
Of being diagnosed from an MRI scan with no clinical assessment at all
I genuinely believed my patients were joking, making it up to shock me. But when I heard these stories again and again, combined with the frustration of not making progress . . . I started to believe them.
Last year (2019) I was given a tour of one of the private hospitals and proudly shown their “new” physiotherapy gym. I had to bite my tongue – old fashioned, out of date and 1 poor, overworked physio trying to manage far too many patients. Not to mention people barging in without knocking!
The first thing to say is that Spanish physios have moved on a great deal in the last decade. These conditions are no longer the norm (although that hospital was 2019!) and many physios in private practice tend to practice in a similar fashion to Bodyworks.
But I still hear these tales with distressing regularity. And am therefore not surprised when people tell me, “I tried physio and it doesn’t work”.
No, that kind of physiotherapy does NOT work 99% of the time.
How I think things should be
The best thing about being in private practice is that I can design the space so that it works for the way I believe patients should be treated.
Let’s start with something super basic – privacy.
All medical conversations are medicine in confidence. That means that whatever you tell me is private.
Because we recognise that sometimes the information you need to give your medical professional isn’t something you want to discuss with anyone else, whether a friend, a colleague, acquaintance or stranger.
Because you might have to explain that the reason your shoulder hurts is because your partner threw you down the stairs 5 years ago, or that you are struggling with having a pee or doing a poo. Or maybe you just don’t want to explain that your ankle hurts because you fell off a table after a wine too many (not age limited btw!)!
Contrary to some of the jokes made about physiotherapy I do actually want you to be comfortable!
Comfortable taking your clothes off
Comfortably warm or cool (depending on the season!)
Comfortable with enough pillows or the special chair or making sure the light isn’t in your eyes.
Comfortable that the room is organised around you and what you need right now.
If you have made the effort to give up your time and come to see me you deserve my complete focus and attention.
This time is about you and your situation. That shouldn’t be shared with anyone else.
Because I want to make sure that the treatment options we choose are designed to get you the best results possible for YOU not anyone else!
What we do about it
Treatments are always 1 on 1 – 1 practitioner to 1 patient. If you choose to invite a family member to join us that’s entirely up to you, but your practitioner is there for you.
Private rooms – with walls and doors that close to ensure complete privacy. Large enough that you don’t feel claustrophobic or worry about where your family member is going to fit!
Air conditioning, heating and windows – so you are as comfortable as possible regardless of what the weather is doing outside
Simple but important
It would never occur to me to offer anything less. To compromise patient comfort, confidentiality or treatment plans.
Which is why we’ve designed our clinic to match those beliefs.