How to choose the right treatment table for your physiotherapy practice
If you are starting up your own practice or looking for a new treatment table for your existing practice, the many options may make it hard to see the wood for the trees. Don't worry: this blog will get rid of the stress of having too much choice in just 10 minutes.
Necessary and optional functions
A treatment table comes in many varieties and with different functions. Below you can read which functions there are and when to choose which function. Just to be complete, the options are discussed from different perspectives: you as a practitioner, your patients, your practice and, of course, your budget. Take a pen and paper and write down the functions you need and the options you want in two columns. After reading this blog all you have to do is make the actual purchase.
The functionality from a treatment perspective
The table plays a central and indispensable role in the treatment. Quality and comfort for yourself and, if applicable, for your colleagues will make your job so much more enjoyable. Therefore, first consider who will be using the treatment table: just you or your colleagues too? And what specialisations are involved? A geriatric physiotherapist may like to work with a wide table, whereas a manual therapist may prefer a narrow treatment table. Or do you go for the convenience of a (wider) table with retractable lateral supports to accommodate multiple specialisations?
Treatment tables consist of two, three or four sections and can therefore be set up in different positions. Which options would you like? Postural drainage position? Flexion position for the knees? Supported long sitting where the feet do not have to rest on the head end? Almost anything is possible today, also when it comes to table control: manual or electric, in one place or anywhere around the table. Manual control is not necessarily difficult or straining, but the load on the table section to be adjusted should be relatively minor. If you do not want to make things unnecessarily difficult for the patient, electric control is the right choice. In addition, a control that is accessible from all sides makes handling even easier.
For the purpose of ergonomics, the table should be height-adjustable. Two aspects are important here. First: exactly how low and how high should it be able to go? It is not only about your or your colleagues’ height, but also about the treatment techniques you intend to use. Second: Do you want to adjust the height of the table manually (hydraulically) or electrically? With a hydraulic pump system you are not dependent on electricity, but you will have to make a physical effort to raise the table. With an electrical system, you save yourself this effort. If you want it even easier, there is a treatment table with programmable memory settings on the market.
Mobility, stability and treatment top
Do you want a treatment table with or without casters? Casters make rearranging or cleaning the treatment room a lot easier, but at the same time they may affect the table's stability. If casters have added value for you, be sure to check how the stability of the frame is ensured. And finally, how solid should your treatment surface be? Do you select a soft upholstered top, for example, for a comfortable oedema therapy session? Or should the top be more solid, for chiropractic manipulations? If you have come to realise by now that the requirements for the various specialisations or treatment disciplines are too diverse, you still have the option of purchasing several tables.
Comfort from the patient's perspective
The treatment table should not only be functional and comfortable for you, but also for the patient. In terms of functionality the main thing to consider is if it has a low, easy access position for elderly or disabled patients. Make sure not to consider your own needs only when choosing a height-adjustable table. In terms of comfort, the upholstered top does not necessarily have to be soft, as there are other ways to make a firm top more comfortable. You can choose a table with integrated heating elements, or maybe adjustable armrests for a relaxed prone position. In the latter case, a face support (face recess) is also a welcome option. Can you hear your patients’ objections echo in your head, about how uncomfortable that hole is? No worries: a removable, disinfectable face cushion is available. Comfort and hygiene for the patient, without hindering you in your activities.
Professionalism from a practice perspective
When looking for the right treatment table, also consider the characteristics of the practice. Perhaps a large treatment table simply does not fit in your treatment room. Or maybe you don't have a socket in the floor and you are unable to keep the cable out of sight under the table. Choose a table with a hydraulic pump or a battery-operated table. In any case, avoid having a cable from the table to the wall. It is not only unsafe but also looks messy, and a professional and inviting appearance is an absolute requirement now that there is a practice on almost every street corner. Patients are critical and articulate. A positive overall experience is important for their final assessment of the practice. A neat and elegant table is an absolute must. You should also think carefully about the colour of the top and the colour and material of the frame. If you want to have a table with a little extra, you could select a model with an LED pack under the frame. You are sure to stand out among your competitors.
The budget from an owner's perspective
Last but not least: the budget. If your budget is not (yet) that big, keep in mind that the saying 'quality pays' actually means something. For affordable (top) quality, you should look for the optimal price-quality ratio. Make sure you have reliable information about the lifespan of the treatment table, pay attention to the duration of the warranty period and preferably choose a provider with an after-sales service. If you don't, and a component breaks or the table wears unexpectedly fast, you're on your own. This also applies if you choose a second-hand treatment table from a quality brand. After all, nothing is wear-resistant. Make sure you know how old the table is and how intensively it has been used. But even with that information, a second-hand purchase is and remains a risk.
Finally, remember that if your table does not work properly, or if the upholstered top is in a bad state and/or uncomfortable, this will detract from your professionalism and the positive reputation you want to establish. The patient's confidence in you and your practice contributes to the effect of your treatment. The less confidence, the less result and satisfaction. The last thing you want is to lose patients. Maybe it won’t be that bad, but do you really want to put it to the test?
Clear about your wishes?
If everything is right, you should now have your list of all the necessary and optional functions you want for your treatment table. And now is the time to buy your treatment table. If you still need help in selecting the best treatment table for your practice, please contact a Gymna partner in your area or ask your questions here.