"Sorry, I can't make it..." - 4 Reasons Why Late Cancellations Are Bad For Everyone
Most practices you go to these days implement a 24hr cancellation policy, to most people’s annoyance. Why all the hype about having to give notice 24 hours prior to a session? More often than not things crop up last minute, you can’t plan when you get sick or when your car breaks down, now can you?! Is a 24hr cancellation policy REALLY necessary?
As much as therapists hate charging their clients for late cancels, it IS a necessary evil. Read below for a few factors you should take into account next time your coffee date coincides with your physio session:
Structure – Cancelling last minute makes sticking to your treatment plan harder When you come in for an initial session, your physio will come up with a treatment plan, a plan that will get you back to where you want or need to be as quickly as possible. A lot of factors go into coming up with the right plan for each person. When patients cancel last minute, it affects this treatment plan. It means that therapist then has to try find a time to squeeze in a make-up session, if that’s possible. It may not seem necessary to you, so perhaps you’ll say not to worry and that you’ll see us at the next session. Inside, we’re cringing and quickly thinking about ways to adapt our plan to still get you to your initial goal, knowing that it’s near-impossible as we always offer the best solution first up. We then have to cop the brunt of the disappointment that may come with not having reached your goal by the time we said so initially, because this plan wasn’t followed to a T.
Waiting Lists – You could be the person waiting desperately to get in The majority of therapists are busy and have a waiting list. Poor little Joe has probably been waiting for a free appointment to pop up for a few days and is far more likely to be able to make arrangements to attend that appointment if we call him a day or two before that availability as opposed to a last minute call.
Respect & courtesy for your therapists and their time A lot of time and effort goes into preparing each session for each client. It involves looking back through all the notes (that are recorded after every single session) and referring back to the initial treatment plan, making sure that person is still tracking along the way we’d expect and if not, why that could be and what adjustments need to be made. A plan for that day is made based on how they have been going and according to the goals we are aiming for and which, most inevitably, will be altered once you actually walk in the door because people aren’t machines, and hence are constantly changing. You may walk in the door and feel too sore or tired to do any exercise rehab which means we need to come up with a new plan on the spot, all the while thinking about our overall treatment plan. Cancelling last minute means all this prep time goes to waste as we know you’ll be in a different position when we see you next.
Reputation – A therapists’ ‘livelihood’ can be drastically affected by not rocking up. Word of Mouth is paramount for our industry. We provide the best service we possibly can because we want to make the biggest difference we can to you and your friends and family. You are far more likely to recommend a therapist who completely fixed your problem and took away your pain than one who did a semi-ok job but, “actually, I still get that shoulder pain”. So whilst you may not think it a big deal, not showing up or cancelling sessions last minute that end up affecting your treatment plan can inadvertently affect the reputation of that treating therapist. Because no one is going to ask you if you followed through completely on the plan they recommended you or whether you missed any sessions, they’re only going to hear that you didn’t get fixed completely and hence, that therapist perhaps isn’t the greatest.
We all have bad days, or wake up feeling unwell or have those days when everything goes wrong but please understand when you call up to cancel last minute and get told that you will be charged for cancelling in the 24hr period that it isn’t said lightly. That we definitely don’t enjoy implementing it. But that we have to. It has to be applied across the board, because, given the opportunity to waive cancellation fees at our discretion, no one would ever get charged and unfortunately, those who suffer are not only the clients, but your therapists as well.
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