Professional legal guardians provide countless services to individuals under their care. One of their biggest responsibilities is securing professional services from reputable vendors on behalf of their clients. This basic guide will discuss the growing trend of guardians utilizing in home massage service providers, including some of the salient issues to be considered when selecting a vendor.
Many legal guardians care for individuals with special needs or disabilities, both mental and physical. Awareness of the benefits of therapeutic massage has increased in recent years, along with a growing body of research proving its clear therapeutic value. Legal guardians have also increasingly discovered that massage can often greatly improve health and quality of life for their clients, both physically and psychologically.
To name just a few of the more notable physical benefits; massage therapy provides relief from pain and discomfort related to specific conditions or injuries, significantly increases blood circulation and improves skin condition (especially for those who are bed or wheelchair bound) and stimulates the nervous system – helping to keep the body and mind connected from head to toe.
Psychologically, the impact of caring human touch, genuine compassion and companionship cannot be underestimated.
Allowing the mind and body to de-stress together is also hugely important for overall health and immunity.
These benefits and others are greatly multiplied with regular, ongoing weekly or bi-weekly treatments.
When it comes to arranging massage services in general, one of the challenges many legal guardians face is that their clients are often homebound or have some difficult patronizing a massage establishment due to a disability. This makes it not a luxury, but an imperative to find a professional, reputable and trustworthy in home massage service provider that is capable of accommodating a client’s needs at their own residence.
My company, Body Well Therapy, is a mobile massage specialist, and over the past few years we have joined with a number of professional legal guardians to provide on-site massage services at private residences and assisted living facilities. We have seen clients who range from being severely physically disabled to those in hospice, to those with living trusts who are generally healthy yet unable to manage their own personal affairs.
Having gained some expertise in this niche, I would like to offer some tips for any professional legal guardian seeking out an at home massage service provider. I am clearly biased towards using a professionally managed service like my own versus a solo practitioner, but I have tried to present the issues with some degree of objectivity.
Key questions and considerations in seeking an in home massage service:
- Is the provider a mobile massage specialist? Most massage therapists either enjoy performing mobile massage, or they do not. Better to stick with one who likes this type of work to begin with rather than coaxing someone outside of their comfort zone. The latter will be more likely to miss sessions or eventually flake out.
- Is the provider reputable? Are there any legitimate public reviews, Better Business Bureau or other accredit
- Does the therapist hold a valid state license or certification where required by law? All but a few states have requirements.
- Does the therapist carry individual professional liability insurance? Professional liability insurance for massage therapists is extremely inexpensive (as little as $99 a year for millions of dollars in coverage), because serious adverse incidents are very rare. There is no excuse for a serious professional therapist not to hold a current policy.
- If the service is being arranged by a company that subcontracts the therapist, does the company itself have a separate corporate umbrella liability insurance policy?
- Does the therapist have any experience working with special needs and disabled individuals?
- Prior to agreeing to perform the at home massage service, has the therapist been fully informed as to the extent of the individual’s physical and/or psychological profile, and indicated that they are completely comfortable with the situation?
- Does the therapist have a temperament that will be compatible with the client’s personality or any relevant psychological issues? (While this is an important question and something to consider, it is often also difficult to predict how the therapist and client will “gel”).
- If things go well and everyone wishes to continue with therapy on an ongoing basis, will the therapist be able to arrange for, and commit to a regular schedule?
- If your client (or you as the guardian) feels that the therapist originally selected is not a good fit, what are your options? Do you mind starting the search and the subsequent vetting process over again to find another independent therapist? Or would it be more convenient to work through a managed service that does the searching and vetting for you? This may be pertinent not only in terms of permanently replacing a therapist, but also in case a substitute therapist is required when the primary therapist is unavailable or out of town, sick, etc. If you are working through a good agency, one phone call or email may get the job done, whereas if you are working with an independent therapist you are essentially back to square one if the primary massage therapist becomes unavailable.
- Is the provider easy to reach and communicate with? This is important not only for coordinating services, but also when it comes to any billing questions, cancellations, emergencies, etc. A provider with a staff and systems in place may be more likely to respond to questions and requests in a timely fashion than a solo practitioner.
- Will the provider be able to comply with your invoicing and payment requirements? Not all massage therapists accept credit or debit cards, or offer professional invoicing with a willingness to wait for payments.
These are some of the more significant issues for professional legal guardians to consider when arranging in home massage services.
In my own (again, admittedly biased) opinion, working with a reputable agency can make the process of obtaining in home massage service for special needs and disabled individuals much more convenient and provide some greater peace of mind for a professional legal guardian. While it may cost an extra $20-$40 per visit (our average fee, all-inclusive for these clients is usually $100 per 60 minute in home massage visit), guardians may find the additional cost well worth it when considering the bigger picture.
In home massage service for legal guardians can be arranged virtually anywhere in the entire United States! Please contact us by phone or email to ask any additional questions or to discuss how we may be able to assist you and your valued clients.