Neuro Traveler

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I love airports.

Maybe it’s because they symbolize “getting away”, or coming home. Maybe it’s because you get to people watch. Or maybe it’s because I like ridiculously long lines, teeny tiny bathrooms, infant proportioned snacks, and crusty flight stewards.

Whatever way you slice it, there’s still something about travel that tickles my senses. For those of you who travel for a living, you’re right in thinking I must not travel too often if I actually enjoy it. But I travel enough.

I’m currently sitting in the Fredericton, New Brunswick airport returning from an inservice I assisted with for Bioness as a Clinical Specialist regarding their L300 an H200 functional electrical stimulation devices.

This is an extremely small airport. Smaller than my high school. The walk from the parking lot to the only terminal was shorter than the walk from my driveway to my house. I saw the security guy cleaning the bathroom. The landing strip is also used for staff parking. It’s small. But is that bad?
While I await a boarding call for the prop plane taking me back to Toronto, I got to thinking… I love when things are kept simple. I only arrived 30 minutes before my flight and I’m not close to being the last one here. There are no long lines. The staff don’t appear stressed out or over worked and no one is complaining.

This is how therapy should be.

No one likes going to the doctor’s office, sitting in a packed waiting room, anxiously waiting for your name to be called since you’ve been there for over an hour, and barely getting your doctor’s attention once you do get called. I’ve heard way too many stories from clients about rehabilitation centers or hospitals or clinics that operate in a similar manner.

To increase profits: cram as many clients into your clinic as you can, spend as little time as possible with them, and schedule them as often as possible (not as often as needed).

To tarnish the reputation of physical rehab: do the same as above

If therapy clinics were set up like the Fredericton airport, the world would be a better place. You wouldn’t be hassled for showing up a couple minutes late or not doing your exercises as exactly prescribed. The therapists could spend an appropriate amount of time with you and actually have time to figure out your issues and develop a more effective treatment strategy. The atmosphere would feel more friendly because, well, people would be more friendly. This doesn’t mean the clinic has to be minuscule or out in the middle of nowhere. It just means that with proper staffing and scheduling and a more client-focused approach to therapy, clinics can make you feel more comfortable about the task at hand – your therapy.

Easier said than done, I know. We struggled with this at Aim2Walk in the earlier days of our clinic. In the end, though, we know we will succeed if, like the Fredericton airport, we keep things simple from an organization standpoint and by following these simple rules:

1) don’t overbook – make sure there is always one therapist or assistant for every client on your schedule
2) have a friendly and knowledgeable front desk staff
3) ensure ALL employees are familiar with operation of the clinic and help out in all areas when able
4) don’t crash the plane (this applies only to the airline…I’m ready to board and I’m hoping the pilot is subscribed to neurochangers.com)

Let us know your ideas for making a visit to your rehab clinic a more enjoyable experience.

Safe travels!

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