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Keys to Your Practice: December 2013


December 5, 2013
By Angelo Santin


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We recently welcomed our third child into the world and I was again amazed at the power of chiropractic.

We recently welcomed our third child into the world and I was again amazed at the power of chiropractic.

When my newborn son was weighed by our midwives, I took the opportunity to check his spine. Even though the delivery was relatively smooth, my son seemed uneasy and uncomfortable. I found a subluxation at the atlas, which corrected nicely, and watched as before my eyes, his demeanour instantly changed. He immediately relaxed and settled for his first feed. It was then I thought how lucky he and my other two children are to have chiropractic in their lives. 

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I believe it is an essential part of a child’s health to have their spine examined and adjusted throughout their very precious early years. If you feel the same way, and wish to see more children and families, then read on because in this edition we will look at ways you can reach out to and take care of more children.

Start with you
Caring for children requires a great deal of confidence. The only way to gain such confidence is to become competent, which requires extra learning and lots of practice. There are many great resources available out there including texts, articles and online courses. There is even greater value in actually going to seminars and getting hands-on experience. For this, there is no better organization than the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA). Once you have a few courses under your belt, it is extremely important to come back to the office and practise what you have learned. Whether the practice is with your children, relatives or even dolls, it is imperative you build on the skills you have learned. 

The office
Your next step involves redesigning or decorating your office to reflect your passion to serve more kids and families. Take a look at your reception area and your treatment rooms. Does your office appeal to families? Are the colours bright and fun? Is there a great area where the kids can play and learn while the parents relax and have their adjustment done? 

Be honest with yourself when looking at your office. You may even ask a friend to give you an unbiased opinion on whether your office setup is clean, neat and family-friendly. Consider doing the following:

  • having a designated part of your reception area where there are toys, puzzles and games that are inviting for children
  • creating fun, interactive and seasonal activities for children, including back-to-school backpack checks and colouring contests
  • having a change table and spare diapers handy for just-in-case scenarios
  • stocking up on snacks and juices for the hungry after-school kids or even for minor meltdowns
  • plugging the power outlets so it’s safe for the crawlers to cruise the office
  • having the staff handy to hold a child if need be so Mom can have her adjustment in peace

These are just a few examples that work well for us and really go the extra mile to make families feel truly welcome. I’m sure if you and your staff put your heads together you can come up with different and even better ideas to make your office family friendly. In past articles, I have talked a lot about involving the staff to do more for you, the doctor. This is the perfect opportunity to allow them to take the lead and be creative.

Referrals
Once we have created the environment conducive to seeing more children, we must then start inspiring patients and asking for referrals. The greatest and easiest opportunity you will have to examine a child is when you have a patient that is pregnant. Take the time to build trust and discuss the newborn examination with the mother. Another great opportunity to generate a conversation is when patients mention their niece or grandchild is having health issues. What better chance to show you care by listening and reaching out to offer to examine the child and give the family a second opinion. Sharing success stories or posting a “pediatric case of the week” on your boards is a great conversation starter and can lead to many opportunities to offer chiropractic checkup to families in need. Be sure to have research articles and pamphlets readily available to share with your patients.

This article is just scratching the surface of how you can realize the potential to serve more children and families that desperately, yet unknowingly, need chiropractic care. If you truly want to take care of more children, then be the example and change from within. I can say with confidence the changes that I made with myself, my staff and our environment opened the door for more families to happily walk through in order to improve their health. My practice took off, and I wish the same success and fulfilment for each one of you.

Remember: when it comes to your practice, work from the inside out.


Angelo Santin, DC, operates a busy subluxation-based family practice in Thunder Bay, Ont., and is president of the Thunder Bay Chiropractic Society. Dr. Santin is also a Carter Universal proficiency-rated chiropractic coach. He can be reached at angelosantin@gmail.com or 807-344-4606.


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