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As clinicians in Australia, there is so often pressure to address patient volume and ensure that we are respectful of patient time and efficiency. Often we see Physiotherapy and Medical appointment times becoming shorter and shorter. On the one hand this may seem fantastic; we live in a fast paced world with expectations around quick results. Our lives exist on the push of a button, and it is difficult for our mindset to shift when it comes to certain areas that require time and thought.
Pure Physio acknowledges that in order to achieve a patients best outcome, the key to success is a thorough, detailed, and thoughtful assessment. We take an hour to ensure we are asking the deeper level questions and are constantly working like detectives to ascertain the true local diagnosis of our patient presentations, as well as the underlying factors.
A recent professional development afternoon with Specialist Physiotherapist David Frances really reinforced this concept. We considered ensuring that the key questioning around the type of symptoms, the location of symptoms, and how easily irritated the symptoms can be are fully understood. The devil is in the detail, and having actual numerical objective “markers” of a patients symptoms are vital. Understanding when the pain comes on, how long it lasts, what activity brings it on, how long it takes performing that activity, how quickly it settles, whether there are other associated symptoms all play a role in determining the sources of the problem.
Furthermore the screening of other potential medical conditions that are masquerading as physical pain can be overlooked when time to fully assess our patients is not taken.
The notion of a physical examination should be to confirm a hypothesised diagnosis. Performing specific strength tests, movement tests, and specific testing for nerves, ligaments, joints or muscles should all be in line with a clearly thought out potential diagnosis.
It is then these two forms of assessment combined that lead us to an honest evaluation of the presentation. We are more clearly able to guide our patients through their recovery process, and more confident as clinicians to execute the most appropriate treatment approaches that we have in our toolbox of tricks.
Taking the time to get to know our patients and their injury or presentation, their goals and aspirations, beliefs, and expectations all create key points to a successful outcome.
For the gold standard in patient care, and the time taken to really dig beneath the surface with you the patient, book an appointment with Pure Physio today.
About the Author
Kate Senini — Consultant Physiotherapist
Kate was a founding partner at Pure Physio in 2010 after returning from working in the UK. Recently Kate has decided to focus exclusively on her clinical role. Helping people recover from injury and prevent future injuries has always been her true passion!