It is very important to clarify from the beginning that most chiropractors do things differently and approach patients with treatment plans that are varied. The number of treatments, the frequency of those treatments, and even the length of a treatment session is down to the individual chiropractor’s professional experience. However, as a patient you are entitled to a thorough explanation about the entire treatment plan. The following is an excerpt from the General Chiropractic Council’s webpage. The GCC is the governing body for chiropractic in the United Kingdom and currently has no jurisdiction in the Isle of Man; however, these points do support you having an ongoing discussion with your chiropractor (no matter where you live) about your treatments and not simply agreeing to a treatment plan.
Should I pay in advance for a year's treatment?
The first questions to ask are:
- why would you need a year's treatment?
- how does the chiropractor know in advance that you need a year's treatment?
- will you get a full refund if you decide to discontinue treatment?
There is no doubt that many patients benefit from regular chiropractic care at intervals of time that may vary, depending on factors such as the condition for which they are being treated, the type of work they do and other activities that they engage in. For example
- a carpet layer who had suffered lower back problems might visit a chiropractor every couple of months to prevent a recurrence of that problem, while maintaining his health in between visits by following the chiropractor's advice.
- a professional footballer might be kept under weekly review by a chiropractor
- someone who's had a chronic condition over a long period of time could benefit from chiropractic care at regular intervals, to maintain a healthy position
But that is very different to paying in advance for a large number of visits, based on a decision taken at the first or second visit. At a recent hearing of our Professional Conduct Committee, the Committee determined that a patient treatment plan involving 3 appointments per week for 12 weeks, followed by a reassessment, was inappropriate, excessive and not in the best interests of the patient.
So do ask all the questions you need to before making any payment in advance.
A treatment plan is based on historical and physical examinations. And, with everybody having a different history their physical exam will yield different findings. Therefore, every treatment plan should be catered specifically to the patient who walks in the door. Most importantly you should feel comfortable with that treatment plan. Your health is paramount, and you should not be made to feel that you are doing yourself a disservice if you do not agree to a treatment plan. You should not be made to feel that you should just agree and accept a treatment plan even if you don’t understand what is actually happening. You should not be drowned in a sea of technical terms that leaves you confused and makes you feel afraid to ask simple questions. You should be reassured constantly and have all your concerns addressed all the time—throughout your treatment.
Any good health care practitioner will make sure that you understand your health and how treatment can affect your health. He or she will be able to explain things in terms you can understand and be able to adapt the explanation based on who you are as an individual. Discussing the nervous system to an electrician involves talking about action potentials, current, and capacitance. Discussing the nervous system to a plumber involves talking about fluid circulation, one way valves, and pressure gradients. But, at the end of it all, the patient leaves with a proper understanding of everything that is going to happen throughout the treatment plan.
Your treatment plan should have some aspect of flexibility that is based soley around improving your health in way that has both chiropractor and patient in agreement.
Please don’t be afraid to question your chiropractor—ever. It is our job to answer your questions. If you have any questions about this post please contact the clinic. You can also check out the General Chiropractic Council website (http://www.gcc-uk.org) to help you in deciding what to look for in a qualified chiropractor. I look forward to hearing from you.