Location and Office Hours
This may be more or less important to you depending on where you are at in your treatment. Patients may go to PT as much as 2-3 times a week for a course of time, so it may be important to find a facility that is convenient for you to get to and that has office hours that work with your schedule.
It is important to understand your insurance benefits if you plan on getting your visits covered through insurance. When you schedule an appointment it is important to verify that your insurance is in-network. Many PT practices will help verify your benefits, but it is also good for patients to double check their coverage. Some practices are “cash-based” only. If you go to a cash-based practice you may be able to submit receipts for reimbursement if you have out-of-network benefits. If you plan on doing this, it will be important to ask the PT practice if they can help by providing receipts with diagnosis and treatment codes.
Depending on the clinic type and model, patients may have varying amounts of contact with a physical therapist. In some clinics patients spend 100% of their time in the clinic directly with the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. In other clinics patients may spend half or even less than half of their time in the clinic working directly with the physical therapist and may be doing a lot of their exercise program with distant supervision of the therapist or under the supervision of a physical therapy aide. Although therapy aides may have extensive training in movement and exercise, certification or licensure are not necessary for these roles and the level of supervision and expertise provided may not be optimal for patients who need a lot of guidance to perform exercises correctly. There is not a “right” or “wrong” for choosing a clinic model, but it is important for patients to be aware of their options and have an understanding of what your therapy program might look like in the clinic and under what level of direction so that you can choose a practice that will work for you.
Although not necessary, there is a lot to be said for finding a PT who you can “connect with.” Rehabilitation can be an extremely worthwhile investment both in the conservative and surgical management of hip dysplasia but it can take a lot of time. Since you will be spending a lot of time with your physical therapist (way more than with your surgeon!), many patients who have very positive experiences describe having good relationships with their PT. Your PT should want to get to know you and understand what your values and priorities are, as well as what your goals are for therapy. You should feel comfortable talking with your PT openly about questions and concerns you might have. A good PT will listen to your questions and concerns, respond openly and honestly, problem solve with you, have patience, and will help empower you to have the best outcome possible for YOU.