By Dr. Lauren Quattrocchi, DC
Have you ever left a medical appointment and questioned – What was my diagnosis? What did they say I was supposed to do? As a doctor of chiropractic, I am reminded every day how so many people have questions about their health concerns and often have no idea where to turn. If there’s one thing patients will regularly express their gratitude for, it is the time spent with them explaining everything, which is why patient education and communication is a fundamental components of my clinical approach.
I will never forget the school project that I was assigned for my kindergarten graduation. We were asked to create a life-size cutout of ourselves that illustrated what we wanted to be when we grew up. I drew myself wearing a white lab coat with a stethoscope around my neck. At such a young age, I was fascinated with doctors because of how they helped the injured or ill. I knew then that I wanted to be involved in healthcare so that I could one day help others too. Only six years old at the time, I associated healthcare with medicine and nursing, not realizing that there existed many other professions within the healthcare system.
Growing up I was involved in a variety of activities with a large focus on competitive dance. I started dancing at the age of five and by the time I was twelve I was training five to six days a week. This took an immense toll on my body and when injuries arose, I was advised by my instructors and parents to seek physiotherapy and chiropractic care. I experienced a variety of treatments, some more beneficial than others, but I was always able to return to my activities stronger and faster compared to when I had not received treatment. Experiencing manual therapy, opened my eyes to other aspects of healthcare outside of mainstream medicine.
When I reached high school, my grandfather’s health started to decline. In a very short period of time, he went from being an active healthy individual to no longer having the strength to stand up unassisted. I remember questioning what was going on and how his doctors were managing his symptoms. It seemed like every week he was taking a new medication to counteract the side-effects of the previous one. I realize that physical therapy was not going to cure his illness, however, throughout the entire process, there was absolutely no mention of any manual therapy to help increase his strength or the inclusion of rehabilitation so that he could maintain some independence. At that time, the only option he was given was to take more medications. He eventually ended up in a nursing home as he was unable to look after himself. As a result of my grandfathers health, we lost him at a relatively very young age. It frustrated me that throughout the last few years of his life, the only therapeutic interventions provided were to control symptoms, and not address his physical health as a whole. He was never educated on his diagnosis or what other management strategies he could undertake to retain his quality of life.
It was also at this point in my life that I had to start making some decisions about my education and ultimately, my career. The more I considered the various aspects of medical school and pursuing my kindergarten dream, the more I started to reflect on my own health journey. Having sought numerous treatments from my chiropractor and physiotherapist for the multitude of injuries over the years, I became very in-tune with their approach towards identifying and fixing health concerns. When I went to see my chiropractor, he would take the time to explain my injuries and what all of my options were for treatment. Having a good understanding of my injuries and the treatment options available allowed me to make educated decisions on how to proceed. This balance of professional intervention, expert diagnostics, and thorough communication resonated with me. I wanted to ensure that experience would also become the core of my therapeutic approach with my patients down the road.
Fast forward to the present day where I am two years into clinical practice, I have become very passionate about educating my patients and ensuring they are in the driver’s seat of their own health concerns. My goal with each and every patient is to ensure that they have a good understanding of their diagnosis and all of their options for managing their symptoms. This not only maximizes the benefits of the treatment, but it also helps them understand how to best manage their condition at home, at work, or in the gym, to ultimately optimize their overall therapeutic outcomes.
For all the above reasons, I have dedicated myself to delivering evidence-informed and patient-centred care to anyone who puts their trust in my therapeutic services. It’s been a promise to not only myself but also to my grandfather to deliver the highest quality of treatment and education to my patients with their benefit at the forefront of my therapeutic model.
In the end there, there have been a few different influences growing up that have led me to choosing the chiropractic profession. I am so grateful for the different obstacles that life threw at me over the years. They have made me open my eyes and learn about the various professional pathways that I had to choose from within healthcare. In the past decade, healthcare has been shifting towards working under a more multidisciplinary umbrella to maximize the opportunity to deliver the most effective course of management for patients. We are not only making leaps and bounds in research, therapeutic technologies, and treatment effectiveness, we are also identifying the true value in effective communication and education with patients. Ultimately, my goal as a healthcare provider is to help others and to educate them on how they can overcome their injuries and pain. When I meet with patients, it’s not hard to see that so many of them not only need our help but are often desperate to find answers. By making sure that they leave my office vastly more knowledgeable about their problem than before they came in, I know that I have provided them the service to help restore their health and help minimize the chances of them encountering the problem once again.