What are Programs of Care?

We share three common goals and values: 

1. Provide the best care we can.

2. Increase professional respect and credibility.

3. Receive satisfying financial rewards.

How come every practitioner doesn’t achieve this the way they wish?

My practice once struggled until learning how to turn things around.

What was the key ingredient? While practitioners have different ways of attaining professional satisfaction and financial success, two things propelled me:

 1. Implementing programs of care.

2. Generating huge numbers of quality referrals without having to promote or advertise. 

In this brief article, we’ll talk about programs of care.

What exactly is a “program of care?”

Programs of care vary somewhat yet have the same intentions whether you are a Massage Therapist, PT, or doctor. They are essentially treatment plans. Programs of care are often referred to as “treatment plans, care plans, a course of care, etc.”

Decades ago Chiropractors first created programs of care for patients with multiple appointment scheduling. They were designed to provide optimum correction and longer lasting stabilization. 

These programs of care use evidence-based assessments, making them far more objective, precise and professional than just booking a random number of visits or selling packaged deals. The end result is patients and clients are recommended the care they truly need, their care is better managed, and their retention is much greater. 

Massage Hall of Fame recipient, teacher, and practice success mentor Irene Diamond differentiates packages and programs of care this way:

"A package is a bunch of sessions offered at a discount. A program is a series of sessions combined and arranged to help a client reach an end goal. 

The motivation for a client to purchase a package deal is to save money. The therapist is seen as a commodity. 

The motivation for a client to purchase a program of care is to get a clinical result. The therapist is seen as a specialist."

When implementing genuine programs of care in your practice, make sure they include four “Key E’s.”

They should be ethical. Your intention when designing and recommending a program of care is to determine treatment plans that best serve your clients’ interests. 

They are not designed to create more visits for the sake of boosting your numbers or padding your pockets, although such increased rewards naturally occur when you establish honest programs of care.

The second E is evidence. True programs of care are based on evidence that provides valid reasons that support your recommendations. 

When your recommendations are determined by evidence-based assessments specific to each client, you have no personal bias nor are you whimsically suggesting a random number of cookie cutter sessions.

True professionals assess and manage clients’ care on a case by case basis because no two clients’ needs, goals, or clinical findings are exactly the same. 

Gathering the right evidence by using well-accepted standards allows you to make multiple appointment recommendations more objectively. It also empowers you to apply greater accuracy and assuredness when guiding, evaluating and monitoring your clients’ progress. This enables you to confidently make further recommendations based on each client’s progress. 

Assessing and not guessing is the backbone for creating programs of care!

It’s a whole different world of professionalism when you know how to manage your clients’ care this way. After all, you work to refine your hands-on approaches, so why not learn how to better manage your clients’ care through programs of care?

The third key E is making sure you have an effective system. This allows you to apply a consistent and reliable approach when using programs of care in your practice. 

Once you learn these three keys for implementing programs of care in your practice, you naturally manage your clients’ care with far greater clarity and certainty because it’s supported by evidence-based standards. You can relax knowing it doesn’t need to involve any sales-like pressure, random booking, or discounted packages. No pre-suasions or persuasions are necessary. You bypass all that rigmarole and calmly make logical recommendations that your clients relate to, appreciate, and are inclined to follow.

The only thing you should ever “sell clients on” is the truth about what they need. And the way you do it makes all the difference between coming across like a salesperson versus a conscientious professional.

It’s only realistic to expect that not every client will choose to follow your exact recommendations. Some will return on a hit and miss basis that suits them best.

But you can trust knowing that when you provide assessment-based recommendations to your clients, it’s the ethical and professionally  “right thing to do.” It provides your clients with justifiable reasons for receiving care that helps them most and helps you treat and manage their care so much better. 

The bottom line is your role is to make sound evidence-based recommendations, while your clients are free to follow them as they will.

So what’s the most effective way for you to learn how to apply professional grade programs of care in your practice? By following the fourth E––expertise.

The smartest and most reliable way to learn how to create programs of care that teach mainstream accepted procedures like true professionals use is from someone with proven expertise in this area. 

Do you really want to spend your massage career missing out on knowing how to do this? Or waste years of your life trying to figure it out on your own when you can let someone with time-tested experience teach you?

If you’re like other dedicated Massage Therapists who are seriously committed to providing their clients with the best care possible and being the best practitioner you can, why not learn how to recommend programs of care to your clients?

When you’re ready to advance your practice and your professionalism this way, you can trust the Referrals and Retention Mastery course is available to teach you how in a practical straightforward manner.


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