Health is a vast concept and usually involves many different practitioners and health professionals. Generally we call this term ‘multidisciplinary,’ as various problems or issues with your health will require input from different health professionals, each one specializing in a different aspect of your health problem.
As a physiotherapist, we generally deal with the physical body and physical symptoms. Your doctor may have referred you for neck pain, a rotator cuff tear in the shoulder or plantar fasciitis, just to name a few different conditions. As a rule of thumb, we would generally communicate to your GP via letter or email that we have seen you for your initial appointment and advise on what the initial treatment administered was, as well as what the course of your subsequent treatments would encompass. This ensures both your GP and physiotherapist are on the same page with your treatment.
Generally, we would not require to communicate with your GP and other health providers again till the end of your treatment, unless there was a specific reason for doing so such as the need for further investigations like x-rays or MRI scans on the injured area or even a request to alter certain pain or anti-inflammatory medications for example.
At the conclusion of your treatment, we would write another letter or email to your GP to update them on the progress and outcome of your treatment and whether your goals were achieved. This is often a good time to also recommend further treatment or investigations if this is warranted. For example, for someone with a ‘frozen’ or stiff shoulder, we might initially try physiotherapy. If there is limited improvement by the end of the course of physiotherapy, we might write a letter to your GP requesting the need for a hydrodilatation.
It is important to note, that GPs are not the only health professionals we communicate with. As physiotherapists, we understand many different health providers and stakeholders are involved in your care. These may include specialists, podiatrists, occupational therapists, workplace managers and consultants, as well as sporting clubs. We are able to communicate with all of these stakeholders involved in your care and health, depending on their preferred method of communication.
Please do inform your physiotherapist if you want your treatment plan and outcomes shared with other stakeholders, as often health and fitness goals are a team and collaborative approach and it is important that we are all on the same page with your recovery. Remember, we are all rooting and here for you to get better!