At our Physical Therapy practice in Boulder we place an emphasis on allowing each patient an interrupted, one on one, 60 minute session to tell their story. We feel this patient centered approach is critical to gaining a thorough understanding of the patient’s symptoms and their impact on the patient’s life This method is associated with patient’s receiving the care they need compared to the care clinicians think they require.
Throughout the medical research clear communication delivered in an uninterrupted environment initiates the therapeutic alliance between patient and provider. The therapeutic alliance has been shown to impact treatment adherence and health care outcomes across a wide range of medical disciplines including Physical Therapy. A recent research study examines what aspects of the Physical Therapy initial encounter and therapeutic alliance are most important to the patient.
Stenner and colleagues investigated 15 pairs of patients and Physical Therapists to determine which aspects of the Physical Therapy treatment are most important to the patient (Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2018). Authors reported patients focused on three themes including clear examination and treatment plans, information and understanding, and a collaborative relationship (therapeutic alliance). Researchers emphasized the importance of communication to both elicit and address issues important to the patient. In turn, uninterrupted, effective communication facilitated positive patient experiences and outcomes.