A client has been out for the past month, with almost zero communication. They called earlier in the week requesting to start back up, stating that they had the flu for the past 3 weeks and are feeling better now. Is doctor’s clearance something necessary before continuing to train this individual? I ask this because he has shown in the past a habit of dropping out and not communicating, when asked for clearance from a doctor he gets rather irate and views it as another obstacle in his way to his goals.
Hi NCRD Fitness,
If you feel the need for a doctor’s clearance for any reason to make you comfortable training a client, then I say get one. It may not turn out to be necessary and the client may be upset, but you never know how the illness may have affected him (age, health of the client, other medical conditions, etc…–and this year was particularly bad and lengthy for common illnesses in general).
You say that you’ve asked him before and he becomes irate–did you request this from him with no compliance? If so, I would not train him until I had the dr.’s clearance.
Hello NCRD Fitness,
If you feel a doctor’s clearance is necessary or even helpful, then do it. I would explain to the client that it is routine practice to work with the doctor just in case the client may have overlooked a good reason to pay attention to restrictions for one reason or another. This does not mean that the doctor will be divulging personal information. The client should not fear a clearance; and, who knows, the doctor may clear the client with no restrictions which would be the best news.
I show the form to the client, before I fax the doctor, to help ease their anxiety. Doing a clearance check handles the liability issue for all involved.
Natalie aka NAPS 2 B Fit.
Did you get a health history and Par-Q from this client when you started working together? If so, did the health history indicate any issues that would make seeing a doctor necessary?
If the client was generally healthy to begin with, a month lapse in programming shouldn’t require a doctor’s statement. It sounds to me like the client might be making excuses not to come to your training sessions, so maybe it’s not an issue of health but an issue of committment…?
The only times I’ve required a doctor’s note are when I’ve had individuals with warnings on their Par-Q, or for group-ex classes where I don’t have assessment forms but become aware of health issues that are beyond my scope of practice without physician clearance.
Keep in mind that even having a doctor write a note can cost a patient money. I had to have a sheet of paper signed to go diving this summer, and I had to negotiate with my doctor’s office to not charge me for an office visit since I’d just had a clean bill of health at my annual physical 3 months ago. So it might seem a simple request to you, but to the client, it’s a trip to the doctor or the collection of a note from the doctor, and possibly a fee.
How about just asking your client some simple screening questions? How are you feeling now? Did your doctor tell you that it was OK to go back to work / work out? And then document client responses in your file for that person.
Again, this assumes we’re not talking about a serious chronic condition. My personal scope of practice is in working with apparently healthy individuals. Someone whose Par-Q indicates they need doctor’s clearance, I’m sending them for doctor’s clearance.
This thread also has some good information.