Good communication is vital to achieve positive results in physiotherapy.
Accordingly, we have a core value here at The Physio Co – “Respect Everyone” – which reminds us to communicate in clear, concise, and honest ways with our clients, the families and carers of our clients, and with our peers and colleagues.
As physiotherapists, we often spend more time with you than other healthcare practitioners. Therefore, it is important that we follow what’s known as a ‘biopsychosocial model of care’.
The biopsychosocial model of care suggests that to holistically address your health needs, we must first understand the bigger picture. This means understanding not only the biological aspects of your medical conditions, but also the psychological (your thoughts, emotions, behaviours and fears) and social (economic, environmental and cultural) aspects of your background and life.
This is to ensure we understand every important detail about you to discover the best treatment options to help you achieve your meaningful goals.
So how does a physiotherapist gain all this critical information?
As physiotherapists, we strive to provide an environment in which you feel comfortable, trusted and safe to talk about your issues, life and goals. We are non-judgmental and respect your individuality, background, thoughts, and beliefs.
We aim to work with you to get the best possible results, so you can continue smashing your goals and doing the things you love!
Here is an example of why the biopsychosocial model of care is important:
Imagine a physiotherapist is seeing Betty for the first time. Betty shares that she has a sore shoulder that needs rehabilitation so she can continue picking up and hugging her grandchildren. So cute!
Betty loves being active and attends a community exercise class twice a week. However, this class attendance is never mentioned in a physiotherapy session.
The physiotherapist gives Betty exercises for her shoulder, but unfortunately now Betty is doing too much exercise for what her shoulder can handle, and it makes her feel worse! Betty cancels the next appointment as she feels like physiotherapy will only continue to worsen her shoulder pain.
If we rewind to the top of the story, we can see how learning more about Betty’s life and beliefs about pain and exercise could significantly change her results.
With the full picture of Betty and her lifestyle, Betty and the physiotherapist could collaboratively incorporate the shoulder rehabilitation exercises into her exercise classes or adapt the physio exercise program frequency and intensity to better align with her other activities.
Knowing that the goal is to pick up and cuddle her grandchildren, the exercises could be specifically designed with this in mind. In this way, Betty avoids overdoing it and reaps the rewards of a tailored program!
In many cases, understanding your story and building trust in the client/practitioner relationship takes time.
We are all individuals, and one person’s story and medical condition rarely requires the same treatment as another’s. At The Physio Co, we invite you to be open and honest with us, as we are with you, to together help you stay mobile, safe, and happy.
Article written by Maddy Low, TPC physiotherapist