“How do you handle a client who comes in sick or with an obvious medical condition?”
I ask the client to obtain a medical clearance from a doctor before we can train. I explain that this is precautionary for his or her own health. Why do I ask for medical clearance? When clients are ill, exercise is most likely not going to benefit them. When a client seeks medical clearance, the doctor usually reinforces my original concerns.
Owner, Bill Ross Fit and Holistic Life Forever
I talk clients into going home and taking care of themselves. I personally don’t want to get sick, nor do I want to expose my other clients to anything that may be contagious. I tell clients who are sick how crucial rest is and that it is one of the most important components of wellness and health. I may suggest Epsom salt baths and plenty of fluids. I show them I care.
I do not charge for the missed session. Sick days happen, and I try to show compassion.
Owner, Lean and Serene Personal Training
Keene, New Hampshire
Luckily, clients rarely arrive sick. However, if they do, I talk to them, train them lightly and focus on relaxation. I may wrap warm towels around their neck with some essential oils. Typically, all my clients get at least 5–7 minutes of deep relaxation and visualization at the end of the session. If they’re sick, I’ll do this for 15–20 minutes. Usually, what these clients need is rest; however, sometimes with high-intensity professionals, you have to give them what they want so you can give them what they need at the end.
Wellness Coordinator and Lead Trainer, Ritz Carlton Resort
Addressing what to do when clients are sick on a training day is part of the housekeeping I do when they start training. We also address late cancellations, weather-related problems and school closings. When my clients are sick, they call or email and ask if it would be safe to come. They know that they will not be charged for their [missed] session if they are sick. If they have an ongoing health condition, I ask them to stay away until a doctor clears them.
However, my longtime clients do realize that I am losing money when they cancel because of illness. They appreciate that they are not being charged, but we have adopted a system where we share the cancellation fee. I don’t charge for the first sick cancellation, and they pay me for the next missed appointment. This works within reason, of course, and I have not had any unhappy clients.
HEYlifetraining Fitness & Wellness
Silver Spring, Maryland
To read more about how fitness professionals handle a situation with an ill client, please see “How do you handle the situation when a client comes in sick or with an obvious medical condition?” in the online IDEA Library or in the March 2016 print issue of IDEA Fitness Journal. If you cannot access the full article and would like to, please contact the IDEA Inspired Service Team at (800) 999-4332, ext. 7.
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