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Vanishing patients. No, they’re not magic, they’re the unfortunate reality for clinics across the country. And patients who don’t finish their course of physical therapy can have massive repercussions for your clinic. First, acquiring new patients requires far more man hours and funds than continuing with existing patients. Second, if patients aren’t having positive experiences with your team, this could harm your local reputation and damage your referral network.

So, what are the reasons patients don’t finish their physical therapy, and how can you increase their completion rate?


The Cause: They Aren’t Seeing Immediate Results

The Solution: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, change doesn’t happen overnight. And as much as we prepare our patients for this reality, it tends to go in one ear and out the other or fade from the forefront as the going gets hard. Set expectations with patients. From the get-go help them understand what each stage of their journey will look like. Help them see smaller goals that indicate progress. Learn to recognize signs of discouragement and take a moment to reflect on those benchmarks. A session of “hey, remember when..?” accompanied by pulling up previous session notes or visual representations of past assessments can help reignite hope and patience.


The Cause: It’s Too Expensive

The Solution:  Medical expenses are a large source of debt for many American households. Unexpected costs of treatment can derail an individual or a family’s finances and many don’t understand the intricacies of insurance. Before the initial visit, have office staff sit down with patients to help them understand the true financial commitment to treatment. Walk them through their options in clear language and consider implementing fee discounts for 100% self-pay patients.

Schedule a demo of Fusion – a speech, occupational and physical therapy EMR software.


The Cause: Life Happens

The Solution: We’ve all been there. Between soccer practice, that big meeting on Tuesday, your cousin’s wedding, and just needing a night to veg in front of the TV, our time is in high demand. If you’re seeing a trend of no-shows or last-minute reschedules or cancellations, it’s time to reassess your plan. Open a conversation with your patient about their time constraints, consider offering more at-home exercises if you think they can stick with it, or implement a telehealth platform to make it a little easier to adhere to their treatment plan.


The Cause: Mental Health Struggles

The Solution: Living with chronic pain can really drag us down. When our bodies become such an impediment to daily life, we can end up isolated, dehumanized, and depressed. Therefore, it’s so crucial for therapists to consider the relationship between the mind and the body and bring mental health to the forefront of treatment. Provide advice for improving mood, maintain an encouraging hand, and stress the positive outcomes in store by sticking with therapy.


The Cause: Living a Sedentary Life

The Solution: How many hours did you spend sitting today? Even with standing desks and lunchtime walks, these days we’re all living largely sedentary lives. Unfortunately, this isn’t usually conducive to maintaining the changes needed for positive outcomes. Take the time in the initial assessment to understand a patient’s lifestyle and don’t try to overhaul everything at once. Start with small changes and compromises that, over time, can amount to significant improvements.


Keep the Momentum Going

Remember, you’re not alone. Patient retention and no-shows are a huge pain point for clinics across America, and this is always at the forefront of our minds at Fusion. We’re here with software solutions to help clinicians create smarter treatment plans, generate positive outcomes (and positive revenue), and offer stellar experiences for patients. With features like telehealth, billing, note-taking and so much more, we can help you keep the momentum going with your patients. Schedule a demo today to see us in action today.



In previous posts we’ve touched on the importance of goals and different formatting styles for writing goals.  So now you’re an all-star goal writer!
If a new patient comes into your clinic tomorrow with an evaluation from another facility, you’ll be able to fix all those poorly written goals, right?
Still unsure? We’re here to help you take your pediatric therapy documentation to the next level. We’ve outlined some of the most common pediatric therapy goal writing mistakes and how to fix them. Let’s get started!

Alright, you’ve completed your assessment(s), analyzed the client’s errors or performance, and know how you want to structure your treatment. You have a pretty good idea of what areas you want to work on, so now it’s time to write your goals.

Is this an area you struggle with? Here are some formatting examples to help you improve your pediatric therapy documentation.


Let’s travel back in time. Back to a time when you wished you had a continuous IV drip of coffee. A time when your plate was overflowing with projects, exams, and clinical placements.

Whether you completed your degree two months ago or two decades ago, chances are you know what I’m talking about. School!

You probably learned all about goal writing back then (if you need a refresher, take a look at this blog post: 4 Questions Pediatric OT’s Can Ask to Make Goal Writing Easier, but have you ever wondered why you need to write goals? Sure, insurance is a factor, but that’s only the beginning.

Get Paid Faster

Yes, insurance is the easy and straightforward answer. Insurance companies require goals in your treatment plan. However, private pay clients may not request a treatment plan with goals, so why do we still write them? Goal writing and good pediatric therapy documentation play an important role in your patient’s treatment.

Plan More Effectively

After your initial evaluation, you should have a good idea of your patient’s current level and where they need to go from there. Goals help drive and guide that treatment, whether it’s a path to development or recovery. The goals are going to outline those steps needed for that path. 

Get Better Results

Goals also help analyze treatment to determine the effectiveness of your selected interventions. You’ll be able to see if the patient is progressing, has plateaued, or declined. Analyzing the goal data allows you to make necessary adjustments to ensure the patient progresses. 

Unify the Team

You didn’t pick this patient up at the supermarket because you noticed something abnormal. They were referred to you for a reason, because someone had concerns. You’ve listened to those concerns, completed your evaluation, and made recommendations.

Pediatric therapy is a collaborative process and those treatment goals are going to unite everyone involved (parent, teacher, doctor, etc.). Chances are you’re going to have recommendations for some of these people and it’s important that everyone is on the same page.

Improve Continuity of Treatment

Well-written goals facilitate continuity of treatment. Let’s face it, germs are rampant regardless of what clinical setting you are working in. Chances are you’re going to get sick– if not, I need your secret! When you call out, another therapist may be coming in to treat your caseload. If that substitute therapist was only given a list of your patent’s goals, would he/she know what to do? What if your patient moved and had to continue treatment at another clinic?

Motivate Your Patients

Don’t you just love the feeling you get when you check something off of your to-do list? Or when you received an “A” on a project you worked so hard on? Imagine how your patient will feel when they meet a goal.Knowing that your therapy is working is as important to the patient as it is to you! Having those little celebrations along the way when can be motivating for the patient and the family

How to Write Better Goals

So, we’ve given you six basic reasons why writing goals for pediatric therapy patients is important, but outlining goals in your treatment plan is important for a variety of reasons. As you complete your next evaluation, think about the goals you are writing and why you are writing them.

Want a deeper dive into writing effective goals for pediatric therapists? Click the image below to download our free Goal Writing 101 PowerPoint Presentation.