Appointment and cancellation policy

Words In Motion Speech Pathology                      

Policies, Guidelines & Procedures

Here at Words in Motion Speech Pathology, our goal is to provide high quality speech therapy services for all clients. In order to do so, we have in place an appointment and cancellation policy. The policy enables us to better utilize available appointments for our clients and assists us as we strive to prepare for all of our appointments thoroughly. As a practice, we have also committed to limiting the number of clients our staff see in a day, which enables us to provide a high standard of service for all families.

Making an Appointment

Appointments can be made via phone, email or via our website. You will receive email confirmation of an initial appointment. You should receive this email almost immediately after making the appointment. If you do not receive the email within 24 hours, it is your responsibility to check your spam and make contact with us in the event that the email was not received. We also recommend that you add to your email address book to ensure that all emails sent from our practice management software are successfully delivered to your inbox. Once you have been booked in for therapy sessions, ongoing clients are given the same weekly/fortnightly appointment slot wherever possible for consistency and continuity. You will receive appointment reminders by way of an SMS.

Attending an Appointment

We encourage you to arrive to your appointment in a timely fashion. This assists us as we strive for professionalism and timely service delivery to you at all times.

If you arrive late to your session without prior notice, we may be unable to see you due to room and timetable bookings. Your therapist may be able to accommodate a shorter session but you will still be billed at the full fee.

Cancellation of an Appointment

If it is necessary to cancel your scheduled appointment, and it is not an emergency situation, we require that you call us at least 48 hours prior to your appointment time.

How to Cancel Your Appointment

To cancel an appointment please call 9217 6423. Reception will take a message regarding the reason for the cancellation which will be recorded on our database. Out of office hours you are able to leave a voicemail message which is time stamped. We do NOT accept cancellations via email. All cancellations need to be directed to our admin team, not your therapist please.

N.B. If your child is not able to come into the clinic but well enough for a session we may be able to offer you the alternative of a telehealth session.

Reasons for Cancellation – Non-emergency

Non-emergency cancellations require 48 hours’ notice. Non-emergencies include known illness, vacations, pre-planned medical appointments, family events, parties, sports events, lack of babysitter or anything that is not designated as “emergency” (see below). The session must be cancelled no later than 48 hours before the appointment. If non-emergency cancellations become excessive, the client may need to lose his or her weekly slot in the clinician’s schedule in order that other families are not disadvantaged from accessing services. 

As a general rule of thumb we suggest a “no school/kinder, no session” approach, i.e. if your child is not well enough for school they are likely not well enough to attend a session either. This assists us in keeping our staff healthy so that they can provide a consistent and regular service to you. Given that we are a practice providing services for children, we ask for particular consideration with regards to sickness or conditions that are contagious (e.g. head lice, hand foot and mouth etc.). Please do not come, or bring your child, to the office with a fever, strep, unidentified rash, diarrhoea, vomiting or any other highly contagious illness. You and your child must be fever-free for 24 hours prior to the session. If you or your child arrives ill, you may need to be dismissed from the session and charges still apply.

In the instance of cancellation for reasons other than ill health, wherever possible we will offer a reschedule appointment (refer to the information below). This avoids a cancellation being recorded on your file.

Rescheduled/‘Make-up’ sessions

We attempt to offer make-up sessions wherever possible because they are in the client’s best interest for continuity and best therapy outcomes. Make-up slots are offered for inclement weather, illness and pre-arranged vacations/holidays. These are understandably dependent on therapist’s availability around their other regular bookings. Make-up sessions are not able to be offered when our cancellation procedures are not followed. For example, if you are charged for a no-show, we are unable to reschedule that visit. It is expected that make-ups are attempted for all holidays, vacations and cancellations.

Emergency cancellations

We of course understand that from time to time an urgent or unpredictable event, such as medical emergency or a family situation, may make it impossible to cancel your appointment 48 hours prior and in these rare instances as much notice as you can provide is appreciated. In these circumstances we would consider the cancellation to be an exception to the late cancellation policy. If, however, late cancellations become a pattern we will discuss this with you in order to ensure best access to therapy for all. Emergency cancellations are accepted for illness, illness of a family member or death in the family. We ask that where possible these sessions are cancelled before 9:00am on the day of the appointment by calling reception and leaving a voicemail message which will be time stamped.

Late Cancellation Policy

All appointments cancelled with less than 48 hours notice will be subject to our late cancellation policy. In an attempt to allow for life’s unexpected situations we offer all clients one late cancellation waiver per term, where no fee will be applied. A waiver will be sent to you via email. Any subsequent late cancellations that term will be billed at 100% of the session fee.

“No Show” Policy

A “no show” is someone who fails to attend their scheduled appointment without notification. No-shows inconvenience other individuals who require speech therapy services in a timely manner. They result in the therapist losing time for a session they have planned and prepared for. The therapist is also unable to schedule an appointment for another client without notice, which results in a loss of income.

A failure to present at the time of a scheduled appointment will be recorded in the client’s file as a “no show”.  This will be billed to the family at 50% of the scheduled assessment/therapy fee. Subsequent / repeated “no shows” will be billed to the family at the rate of 100% of the scheduled session fee. You will receive an invoice for this via email and be contacted by admin. Where we are not able to reach you we require a follow-up phone call or email from you regarding this before your next scheduled session. Multiple “no shows” will result in the temporary suspension of services. Our practice management system tracks attendance for us to ensure we can provide an equitable service for all families.

Minimum attendance requirements 

Following your child’s initial appointment your therapist will discuss their recommendation for  therapy with you. A weekly or fortnightly appointment will be recommended based on the results  of the assessment. This recommendation is based on the evidence we have available to us about  the ‘dosage’ or frequency of appointments that are known to get the best outcomes for children  participating in therapy for various difficulties. We do appreciate that weekly appointments can be a big commitment and as such often agree to fortnightly appointments if they are more manageable for families longer term and/or based on availability of appointments at the time. 

Consistency is key when it comes to achieving outcomes in therapy. Regular attendance of scheduled appointments is important to assist in meeting your child’s therapy goals. Missed  appointments and recurring cancellations result in a reduction in frequency of therapy, which has  an adverse impact on outcomes. This is particularly relevant in the case of children who have a  fortnightly appointment, because one cancellation results in only monthly attendance of therapy  appointments. As such we request that if you need to cancel a scheduled appointment, you endeavour to reschedule it, so that the therapy session is not missed. At times this may mean needing to come at a different time or day to avoid missing an appointment.

If an appointment is not able to be rescheduled it will be recorded as a cancellation. At WIM we aim  for an attendance rate of at least 75% of scheduled appointments per term. This is in consideration of both  you and your child and the outcomes we hope to achieve in therapy, as well as other children and  families we have waiting to commence therapy. If consistent attendance proves to be difficult we  ask that you please discuss this with your therapist, or our clinic manager. Frequent cancellations /  an attendance rate below 75% will result in a review of your file. We will then contact you to discuss  future appointments if an agreement is not already in place. A break from therapy may be  discussed, to resume at a time where consistent attendance is more achievable. 

Thank you for your understanding and for working with us to ensure the best outcomes for all children accessing our service.