New Patient Do’s and Don’ts for RMTs
As a health care professional it is important for you to set the right tone for each patient you see; therefore, the first appointment is the most important appointment as you want to be certain you give the right impression as well as communicate clearly with new patients about policies and their treatment. Here are some do’s and don’ts you should keep in mind when seeing patients at their first appointment:
- Do inform patients of any cancellation policies as well as fees when they call to book their first appointment. This will establish the value of your services as well as set the tone for the relationship between your patient and your office.
- Don’t forget to ask new patients to arrive at least 15 minutes early to fill out the necessary forms such as health histories. This is imperative to ensure you can stay on schedule.
- Do ask patients to bring any relevant information to their health or past treatments to help you establish the best treatment plan.
- Don’t forget to ensure your massage room has all of the necessary equipment, brochures and supplies prior to a new patient appointment. You want to ensure you appear organized and professional to instil trust and confidence.
- Do review their medical history in great detail and ask if they have any information they wish to share such as referral letters, questions or even x-rays.
- Don’t interrupt a new patient when they are trying to ask questions or offer information as this will make it seem that you are aloof or are not going to consider their input when coming up with a treatment plan.
- Do ask patients how they will be most comfortable fully dressed or clothes removed. This is important as not all patients are comfortable with being exposed. Explain which will work best so they are better able to choose.
- Don’t forget to provide a sheet to drape over them and ask if they are warm enough.
- Do prepare them for their treatment and start slow by applying your hands to the area of treatment first before jumping right in.
- Don’t begin massaging too aggressively right away as a lighter touch will prepare the patient as well as help warm the muscles in preparation for deeper massage.
- Do explain what you will be doing during treatment and tell them to let you know if they experience pain or concern throughout the massage.
- Don’t forget to explain when you are about to change what you are doing such as adding oils, using tools or require them to move into a special position. This will prepare them for changes and keep them comfortable throughout the treatment.
- Do ask if they are comfortable or if areas are sensitive or painful as you are working on them. This will let them know you are concerned with their care and also that you are ensuring you are providing the right pressure and techniques that will be effective for them.
- Don’t miss your patients’ cues if they seem to tense or sound like they might be uncomfortable.
- Do finish up gently and consider applying a warm pack to their back to let them wind down from the massage.
- Don’t forget to explain they should get up slowly in case they are dizzy.
- Do review the treatment when you are finished and what should take place at their next appointment.
- Don’t allow new patients to leave without booking their next appointment.
- Do review possible side effects with the patient before they leave.
- Don’t forget to provide contact information should the patient be concerned with any side effects they might experience.
Following these do’s and don’ts will help provide the best possible first appointment while setting a strong foundation for ongoing relationships.