Knowing Your Clients Better: The Importance of Intake Forms

Ensuring a client’s safety should be one of our highest priorities when in the studio. For that to happen, we need to have a thorough understanding of our client’s personal medical history. We need to know what to do when presented with diagnoses or medications we are unfamiliar with and with reports of pain or discomfort. We also need to know what to do when something presents itself during a session. An Intake Form is the best way to digest and understand your client, know what needs to be modified and if you need to refer them to a medical practitioner before you work with them. Naturally, divulging this kind of information can be difficult for some people. Explain to the client that the form will only be viewed by you or members of your team who work with them personally. Have your client come in early enough before their session to fill out this form. You should also have your team members review these forms to acquaint themselves with the client before they work with them the first time.

So what exactly do you need to ask the client?

Here is an example of a well-written intake form: There are a few topics you want to address in the form. Most notably, questions on lifestyle, health and past illnesses. Knowing a person’s lifestyle gives you insights on their daily habits. Are they constantly sitting or standing? Are they active for work, or do they have a desk job? What hobbies or sports are they involved in that may affect the routine? Be sure to include general health inquiries such as:
  • Low back pain
  • Pregnancy
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Surgeries
  • Heart problems
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Epilepsy
  • Frequent headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles, numbness or weakness
Past illnesses also give context and aid in how you interact with you client. For example, breast cancer survivors may have a loss of upper body range of motion and may want to focus on mobility in the chest and arms. Remember, it is important to communicate with their healthcare practitioners to get the full picture of the client and also what to focus on and possibly what to avoid or add at a later time. As we mention in The Art of Communication, you will notice the ease of rapport building once you understand your client in these ways. Be sure to ask them to tell you what they would like to gain or be able to do as they practice Pilates. What do they want to focus on during their session? Have they tried Pilates before? This form is not to be confused with a Screening, which we will be discussing soon in another blog. You can brainstorm with members of your team on which questions would be most pertinent to your goals. If you’re having a bit of trouble getting started, here’s a sample intake form to help you create your own!

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