As a patient how do I know what a physiotherapist, or any other healthcare professional, does? Through ‘common knowledge’? Is that a consistent accurate picture? Through the Internet? Do websites give a good picture. Are they written in patient friendly language?
Are patient friendly leaflets given at time of booking or referring? Is there information in hospitals, physiotherapist or GP waiting rooms? Or community hubs? Are patients told about the range of treatment options? Are patients told of any strong biases a physiotherapist might have (I might want to ask for a different one)?
How many websites (including NHS) talk about ‘correct lifting techniques’ (and similar)? Do physiotherapists agree with this being there? How many websites talk about persistent pain, and pain self management?
How do I know as a patient not to say ‘I’ve had physio’?
If I asked 20 physiotherapists would I get clear patient friendly explanations of what a physiotherapist does? Would there be a consensus? If I asked 20 patients would they say something similar to the physiotherapists? Would there be a consensus?
Do I know what a physiotherapist does? On my first encounter with a physiotherapist I had little idea, either in general or in terms of modalities and treatments a physiotherapist might use, why and what for. I wasn’t given any information as to what to expect. Did this contribute to me being a passive physiotherapist?
Does any of this matter? I think so – knowing more about what to expect would help empower me as a patient, and help me work in closer partnership with my physiotherapist. I think it would make me less ‘bewildered’ and passive and would support me giving ‘informed’ consent.
Is it all in practice anyway? I don’t know….