Methodist Hospitals: How to choose a physical therapist - March 27, 2014

As the captain of your own health care team, you are free to select the appropriate professionals to help you meet your goals.

While your physician must refer you for therapy in Indiana, you are free to choose your own physical therapist, and you are not obligated to receive physical therapy in any specific facility. However, your therapy should always be provided by a licensed physical therapist.

Health insurance companies often endorse the benefits of physical therapy. Most require patients to try physical therapy before turning to expensive surgery to address some issues. In fact, physical therapy can actually negate the need for surgical treatment.

For example, people with back pain can receive physical therapy to strengthen the core muscles in their back. Not only will they feel better, patients may also emerge from physical therapy with a restored, functional body.

Physical therapists often specialize in treating specific areas of the body. For example, a physical therapist may focus on the back, neck, knee, hand or shoulder. A physical therapist may also specialize in specific disciplines, including pre- and post-natal care, sports injuries or stroke rehabilitation.

The Inpatient Rehabilitation Institute at Methodist Hospitals is one of the largest medical rehabilitation units in the state. Its complete continuum of services includes:

• Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation

• Neurological Rehabilitation

• Medical Rehabilitation

• Wound Care

It also features specialty programs for orthopedic and sports injury patients; home care services; and coordination with community-based organizations to help each patient achieve maximum functional ability.

Methodist Hospitals also offers outpatient rehabilitation care for adults and children at two locations in Merrillville and Gary. The Merrillville facility is located on the hospital’s Southlake Campus The Gary facility is located at the hospital’s Midlake Campus and is among the area’s largest state-of-the-art facilities. They are staffed by experienced, licensed physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, diabetes educators, and other skilled professionals.

Their goal is to assist patients in reaching their rehabilitation potential by providing quality care that enhances independence, self-sufficiency, and productivity while promoting cost-effective care. Services emphasize patient self-responsibility for better outcomes and, when appropriate, utilize a multidisciplinary approach to care.

Home health and hospice services are also provided.

The full range of outpatient programs for patients of all ages includes:

• Aquatic Therapy

• Wound Care

• Neurological Rehab

• Functional Capacity Evaluations

• Work Hardening Program

• Bariatric Surgery Support Services

• Joint Replacement Rehab

• Hand Therapy

Your physical therapist will perform an examination at your first visit. At that time, your physical therapist may design a care strategy and timetable to help you achieve your goals and optimize your movement and function.

The best physical therapists will provide emotional support as well. Treatment and recovery is very hard work, especially for patients in severe pain. When you feel exhausted, the physical therapist will provide motivation, push you to your limits, which will aid in your full recovery. The therapist will inspire you to regain your full independence.

With the assistance of a good physical therapist and your own hard work, you can often recover fully and enjoy life again.