Your first physical therapy appointment is booked and typically we rely on the professional to “lead the dance” and have a plan for that appointment, so all you need to do is sit back and let them do their job. However, just like an important meeting, you should prepare. Consider the tips below for ways to get the most out of your first appointment.
Pen. Notepad. Questions & More– You and your physical therapist know why you’re there, but, since this is your first visit, have any questions on your mind prepared so you don’t forget in the moment. Ask about your treatment and its duration or even the physical therapist’s history with treating your ailment. This is your health and recovery at stake—there is no stupid question. Since this is an initial evaluation, it would be smart to write down your medical history and the symptoms of your ailment, the more detail the better.
What’s the price?– This may be a better question to ask your insurance carrier but it doesn’t hurt to ask the clinic’s front desk when making your appointment. Definitely ask! In some instances, you could find that a clinic doesn’t accept insurance so will need payment directly from you onsite. If they do accept insurance, the clinic may direct you to your insurance carrier to find out what your exact or estimated cost will be. Don’t be turned off if they say this, offices are busy and don’t always have the time to call insurance companies to check and verify benefits. When you call your insurance, simply ask what are your general physical therapy benefits, including if you have a co-pay or does it go to your deductible and if you have a benefit maximum (some plans only cover a set amount of physical therapy visits within a benefit period. Understanding the limits of what your insurance provider will pay for you is very important). Even if the clinic calls your insurance company directly, it wouldn’t hurt to double check by calling yourself afterward, just to be sure.
Nervous? Bring a Friend!– Everyone has different reactions to seeing their doctor or physical therapist. If you’re feeling nervous, bring a friend or family member as emotional support. They could also be a good second set-of-eyes-and-ears during the visit, helping you remember key information and may offer questions to ask you may not have thought of.