Guest Contributor Sascha Boulet, DPT
Sascha Boulet is the Owner and CEO of Capture Therapeutics by PhysioFirst PC Inc., operating at three locations in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada. With a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology from the University of New Brunswick, a Master of Science in Physiotherapy from McMaster University, and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Evidence in Motion, Sascha is both an experienced clinician and a savvy businessperson.
With the impact of 2020 continuing to ripple through the healthcare industry, and shifts in Canadian healthcare consumer behavior, we asked Sascha to talk to us about challenges her business faces. As a clinician passionate about patient-focused care, the conversation quickly turned to things Sascha strives to communicate to both existing and potential patients. So, here are five things a Canadian physiotherapist wished patients knew about her PT practice.
1. Direct Access: You Don’t Need a Referral
The first thing Sascha wishes patients knew was that although many believe the contrary, patients do not need a referral to visit a physiotherapist in Atlantic Canada.
A common misconception about physiotherapy is that you need a doctor referral to make an appointment or to have services covered by your insurance. In reality, PTs are happy to see anyone interested in care and most insurance companies will cover some PT care costs, even if treatment is sought without a referral.
Capture Therapeutics makes every effort to be accessible to patients. Appointments can be booked online or by phone for both in-person and virtual care.
2. Proactive Care is Always Better Than Reactive Care
Another common misconception about physiotherapy is that it is only treatment for injuries. Sascha says that is false. Patients do not need to have a problem to seek out a physiotherapist.
“Physiotherapy needs to be seen as a preventative therapy more than a reactive one; ensuring no pain starts is easier than treating an existing ailment. Why not decrease the chance of injury or pain, first and foremost? Call it prehab!”
That is not to discourage patients who may be experiencing discomfort. “If you are in pain, call now. Don’t postpone because the longer you wait, often the longer the recovery.”
Of course, taking preventative steps to keep yourself healthy and mobile is key to living healthily. Sascha compares visiting a physiotherapist routinely to visiting a dentist for regular cleanings. “Why do you do it? To keep the cavities away. We need to treat our bodies more like this.”
Sascha’s PT practice emphasizes proactive care. “From community involvement to preventing falls, athlete fitness to running injury prevention, and women’s health pre- and post-delivery, education in regards to our body is key in our ability to maintain a healthy, pain-free lifestyle.”
Sascha urges those seeking physiotherapy service to ensure that the credentials of any professional are legitimate. Unfortunately, “there are a lot of people out there who don’t have degrees who change up a few words and you think you are seeing a healthcare provider. Ensure they are regulated, then consider their services– physiotherapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy, personal fitness with a kinesiologist, or dietitian services. There are many options.”
Sascha also wishes patients would check that any therapist they visit is “focused on your recovery and the long-term plan for staying healthy. You should be making progress. It can take time, but you should ensure you are moving in the right direction of your goals, not theirs.”
3. Virtual Care is Effective
Like many in healthcare, the Capture Therapeutics team has had to get creative with how they deliver services over the past year. Almost all services at Capture Therapeutics are now available virtually (the exception being massage) and anyone is eligible.
Sascha wishes patients understood that virtual care is just as effective as in-person care. “One of my therapists once said that we only see our patient for 2% of their week. So, what we educate them on, give as exercises and home manual therapy, and the ability for the patient to follow through is more important than anything else we can do.”
Sascha also notes that virtual care is a time efficient option for patients, as they do not need to commute to the clinic or take time off from work for an appointment. “It’s easy and efficient as well as successful at making gains just as rapidly as in-person care.”
4. PT Services Are More Versatile and Diverse Than You Think
Sascha knows that it surprises many patients that her clinics offer services in more ways than just one-on-one, individually tailored care.
For patients who have a smaller budget, Sascha’s team offers monthly free educational evenings to discuss various health-related topics. They also have group classes for fitness and dietitian advice. Many PT providers have in-clinic gyms but some of the Capture Therapeutics locations even have pools “to promote a faster return to pain-free living”.
Other available services that may surprise you include custom brace fittings and assistive devices. “So many individuals sell braces but have no professional background or ability to diagnose and follow through with the appropriate brace for the condition. We take guidance from orthopedic surgeons, family practitioners, combined with our knowledge of the space, and our understanding of your physical abilities and conditions. We can usually find the right tool to maximize your functional potential.”
5. No Insurance Doesn’t Mean PT Is Not for You
Lastly, Sascha wishes that patients knew that they do not have to have insurance to visit a physiotherapist. Although most services are covered by insurance plans, clinicians can usually check ahead of time to ease client concerns. Patients can also ask ahead what a service will cost them without insurance.
Sascha notes that “insurance coverage only goes so far – and injuries don’t heal depending on how much or little insurance you have.” She encourages patients to view treatment as an investment in their health. “Recovery is a winding road. The goal for us is to make it the fastest, longest-lasting recovery possible.”
For those without insurance, Sascha’s biggest recommendation is to call the clinic. “Discuss with your local clinic. Many, I hope, are like mine, where we have initiatives to cover costs for those who find it difficult to afford care.” Capture Therapeutics has a unique program called The Gratitude Project. Through donations from satisfied customers or local community partners, Sascha’s team is able to subsidize services for individuals. “We are trying to get our communities as healthy as possible to help them live the most fulfilling life possible.”
Those are five things that an Atlantic Canada physiotherapist wishes patients knew about her practice. A sincere thank you to Sascha Boulet for being a guest contributor to the Stepscan Blog. To learn more about Sascha’s practice and the services available, visit the Capture Therapeutics website.
To read more about the challenges and trends experienced by the physical therapy industry post 2020, read WebPT’s article 7 Biggest Physical Therapy Trends in 2020.