Sometimes, the forms and templates we use cost us serious amounts of time: time we could spend more usefully serving clients and building our practices.
A confession: for years, I sent out a client questionnaire cobbled together from about six different sources, mostly forms originally designed for use in the public health sector. I remember pulling it together in a hurry the week before I opened my clinic and never revised it. It was an ugly PDF requiring parents to fill in tiny boxes by hand and scan it back to me. This was hard for some parents and often resulted in delays, especially for parents without easy access to a computer and scanner. Some forms came back to me in barely legible or faint handwriting. Several evidence-based risk factors for communication issues weren’t covered properly, which meant I had remember to ask about them in each assessment interview. Some questions were ambiguously worded – parents regularly skipped them or answered them in unexpected ways.
Worst of all, the questions were not set out in a logical order. When I came to write the background section of assessment reports, I found myself constantly flicking backwards and forwards through the form, manually sorting questions related to early development, speech, language, voice, fluency, general risk factors and medical history to pull of the information most relevant for the client’s needs. Over the years, I wasted countless hours doing this – all because of a single, poorly designed form.
Learn from our mistakes! We’re delighted (and relieved) to introduce our revised client questionnaire for children. Key features:
- Microsoft Word template. Simply add your branding and use “as is”; or edit the form to add, subtract or change any of the questions.
- Template can be locked, so parents or carers can type in or handwrite their answers, but not change your questions. They can then simply email the completed form back, or scan it as a PDF, fax or mail it.
- No space issues. Parents/carers are free to answer open questions in as much detail as they want. We’ve solved the tiny box problem.
- Covers known red flags and risk factors for communication issues.
- Covers strengths, areas of challenge, and main concerns to help you focus your assessment on areas most relevant to the client’s needs.
- Logically presented – the information gathered should track directly into the background and medical history section(s) of your reports.
- Includes a “getting to know your child” section, enabling you to build rapport and tailor assessment and therapy activities and reinforcement based on your client’s interests.
- Incorporates consents to speak with other health and education professionals involved in the client’s care, as well as consent to receive reports by email.
It’s already saving us time and money in our practice. We hope it does the same for your practice.