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Desert States Physical Therapy Network Frequently Asked Questions

The treatment you receive in physical therapy will depend upon what the therapist finds in the evaluation. Our treatment programs are mechanically oriented with a non-dependent therapeutic approach. Our facilities emphasize mobilization, self-treatment, and therapeutic exercise to go right to the structure and resolve the problem.

Desert States Physical Therapy Network clinics use modalities based on the most recent scientific evidence. In general, massage, ultrasound, heat, electrical stimulation do little to address the underlying pathology and can cause patient dependence. If indicated, and if supported by the evidence, modalities can be used.

Find answers to your questions below:

What types of treatment may I receive?

The treatment you receive in physical therapy will depend upon what the therapist finds in the evaluation. Our treatment programs are mechanically oriented with a non-dependent therapeutic approach. Our facilities emphasize mobilization, self-treatment, and therapeutic exercise to go right to the structure and resolve the problem. We do not stress “feel good” modalities, such as massage, ultrasound, heat, electrical stimulation, etc., which do little to address the underlying pathology and can cause patient dependence. We do utilize modalities, as needed, to assist us with anti-inflammatory effects, etc.

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What should I expect on my first visit?

On your first visit, your physical/occupational/speech therapist will perform an evaluation to determine what deficits and/or problems you have that can be addressed in therapy. The evaluation involves a thorough history, objective tests and measurements, followed by your therapist’s assessment of the specific problems you present with. A treatment program will be developed, aimed at resolving the problems identifie. Your therapist will then work with you to set attainable goals.

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How long will my visit last?

Treatment time will vary according to what the physical/occupational/speech therapist finds in the evaluation. There is no specific time limit for therapy. Whatever is found to be appropriate during the evaluation will become part of the patient’s program. The program will be updated as appropriate as the patient improves. In general, therapy treatments last anywhere from 1/2 hour to 1 hour with somewhat longer time being necessary for this first visit because of the evaluation. Insurance benefit guidelines, if appropriate, will also be followed.

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How is my progress measured?

Because your physical/occupational/speech therapist will perform a meticulous evaluation, quantifying and qualifying all the deficits and problems you are presenting with, re-evaluation and re-measurement to determine progress are possible. You will be re-evaluated on a periodic basis, the frequency of which will depend upon your diagnosis as well as the chronicity of the problem.

In general, patients are re-evaluated anywhere from two to six weeks. Additionally, the therapist should always be informed of follow-up visits with your physician as a re-evaluation will be performed so the physician can be updated at that time.

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How will you communicate with my physician?

The therapist will communicate with your physician most commonly by written report. The therapist will send a complete written report outlining the findings of the initial evaluation, as well as the assessment of the problem and an outline of the general treatment and frequency with which you will be seen. The therapist will continue to update your physician with written reports each time you are re-evaluated and most specifically prior to your return to the physician. This is why it is so important you let your therapist know if you have an appointment with your physician.

Additionally, the therapist will, as they feel appropriate, contact the physician by phone if they have a specific concern or question. At the end of your treatment, the therapist will send a follow-up report to your physician with final information as to your status at the time of discharge from therapy.

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Will I need follow-up or maintenance care?

The goal at our facilities is to resolve your problem completely so you do not require continual follow-up or maintenance care. There are some patients who do require follow-up care or re-assessment on a periodic basis, but that will be discussed with you once you are in physical therapy or at discharge.

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What if I need to return to physical therapy?

If you have a recurrent problem after your discharge from physical therapy, how/if you will return to physical therapy will depend on a number of factors. It will depend on if you have a re-injury of the same specific problem, how long it has been since you were last in physical therapy, how long it’s been since you saw the physician, and many other factors.

In general, if you have been discharged from physical therapy and feel the need to return, you should contact the physical therapist who treated you. He/she will review your chart and return your call to discuss what should be done based on the problem(s) you are having.

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When is the best time to start physical therapy?

In general, starting physical therapy should be done as early as possible. Initiating physical therapy early on will reduce the overall treatment time you will require by not allowing the problem to become chronic. If you are in pain and or you are in an acute state, your program will be modified according to your signs and symptoms. What is done for you in physical therapy depends on the clinical stage you are presenting in, not just the diagnosis. Therefore, your care will be modified according to the signs and symptoms during the acute, subacute, and chronic phases of your problem.

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Is it ok to ask my doctor about physical therapy?

Absolutely. If you have a problem you think can be helped with physical therapy, feel free to give us a call. After discussing with you the specific problem you present with, we can give you a better idea if it is something treatable with physical therapy. You can also give your doctor a call. If he/she is not sure, he/she is welcome to contact us as well. In today’s healthcare environment, if you feel physical therapy can be helpful to you, you will need to communicate your feelings to the doctor you are seeing.

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Will my insurance cover physical therapy?

Because of today’s health care and the wide variety of plans available, although most insurance companies do cover physical therapy, what they specifically cover varies greatly. Please review the billing and insurance participation section on this web site. If you have additional questions regarding your specific insurance, please call the clinic directly.

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How do I arrange an appointment?

Simply call our office for an appointment. Our clinic hours and locations are explained on the Locations page of this website. Our office staff will obtain all the necessary information from you, including the potential need for a referral, as well as assist you with an appointment.

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What should I wear?

In general, wear comfortable clothing to physical therapy. If you are presenting with a problem of your cervical spine, upper back or shoulders, the therapist will provide you with a gown to expose these areas for treatment. If you are coming for a lower extremity problem, shorts are important. You can bring whatever you like to wear with you if you need to change at the clinic. Non-skid shoes, such as tennis shoes, will be needed for safe exercise and gait activities.

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What should I bring with me?

For your first visit, you will need your insurance card, any paperwork sent to you requiring completion, as well as the referral, if applicable. If you have any operative reports, MRI or X-ray results, you may bring those as well, but they are not necessary. Additionally, if you are utilizing any type of brace, splint, or crutches, those should come with you also.

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What if I have an increase in symptoms?

If you have increased symptoms, please call your physical therapist. When you call the office, please be sure you explain to the office staff you are having an increase in symptoms. The office staff will contact your therapist or a covering physical therapist. They will be able to review your clinical record and will give you a call back the same day. After discussing the case with you, the therapist will give you guidelines as to what would be appropriate to reduce your symptoms, whether you need to come into the office, or if you should contact or follow-up with your physician.

It is best to call the clinic prior to calling your physician because if a change in symptoms has occurred, it is important the clinic contact your physician with a report so he/she can be up to date on your care when you see him/her for a follow-up visit.

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Who chooses which physical therapist I go to?

Oftentimes, your physician will give you a recommendation or a listing of physical therapists in your area. Sometimes your insurance company will guide you with regard to who is “in network” for your insurance plan. Ultimately, however, the decision as to where you receive your care is up to you. If you have a specific request, you need to let your physician or insurance company know. If we are not in-network for your insurance company, most plans have out-of-network benefits which will allow you your choice in physical therapy. Please see the insurance section on this website for more specific information on which insurance plans we are able to see.

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Why should I choose physical therapy?

In physical therapy, the goals should be to resolve your problem, not just temporarily relieve it. Although medication and other forms of treatment can be helpful in relieving symptoms, physical therapy produces a long term result. Depending on your diagnosis, the physician may opt to utilize medication in conjunction with physical therapy. Additionally, unlike some other forms of treatment, physical therapy is not designed to progress as a maintenance program. Our goal is to resolve your problem; therefore, maintenance is not generally necessary.

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What office policies should I be aware of?

We ask that our patients:

  • Give 24 hours notice for cancellations, when possible. All of our facilities utilize answering machines or services after hours of operation.
  • Call if you have a question, concern, or if you will be late. We will do our best to fit you in, but need to know in advance in consideration of other patients.
  • Be on time.
  • Notify your physical therapist at least one week prior to returning to your physician. The therapist must have this date in order to properly schedule a re-evaluation for you to update your physician on your progress.
  • Schedule appointments in advance and have the proper number of visits scheduled. If you don’t schedule your appointments in advance, it will be more difficult to give you the times you desire.

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What is my responsibility in physical therapy?

We are partners in your recovery. Your physical therapist cannot do it without you! We ask all patients cooperate by following through with their home exercise programs and instructions as this is extremely important in expediting your recovery.

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Why choose a Desert States’ facility?

Because of our expertise! Our facilities are widely regarded as leading experts in physical therapy. Physicians regularly send their own office staff and family members to our facilities. Patients receive personalized care. We are dedicated to resolving your problems in an environment that is welcoming and relaxed. Feel free to give us a call or stop in at any of our facilities and speak to a therapist.

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Do you post job opportunities?

Yes, if you are looking for career opportunities at our locations throughout, please visit our Career Opportunities page.

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