11 Jun 2017

Do you use SOAP? Not me! No SOAP for me!


I hate SOAP. I don’t use SOAP.

I use my own charting categories, and I’ll suggest you might like to do the same!

Did I make you raise your eyebrows at the title?  Just a little?  Likely not!  Ah, disappointing…


Okay, so when we have interns come to our clinic, they are asked to provide an example of a SOAP note.  I always tell them, we don’t use traditional SOAP notes.  I don’t think they fit an outpatient practice.  Subjective and objective make sense.  Subjective is what the owner tells us happened, how things are going, what they’ve been doing, observing, etc.  Objective is what you find on your clinical evaluation of the dog (gait & movement analysis, what’s painful on palpation or ROM, or movement testing, what’s tight, atrophied, and your objective measures, etc.)  Sensible stuff!  But beyond that, I would like to make suggestions / alterations to the A & P parts of SOAP.


Classically, (and I dug out an old text book from 1990 to get this right… a whole text book on SOAP notes!!!), the A is for Assessment, where you would fill out a summarized list of the major issues from the S & O sections.  Okay, so this is likely dandy as part of your initial assessment, but it’s a pain in the butt to do with every charting input.  In our initial assessments, we use PT impression or PT Diagnosis.  That’s where I’d write out my thoughts 1) Suspect OA left shoulder and maybe put some bullets below:  Pain on end ROM flex / ext; Reduced end ROM flex; Off-loading LF leg.  And we’ll often have multiple findings i.e. 2) Rib and T/S dysfunctions, 3) abdominal motor control and timing deficit.  I could add in my goals etc. as well (in my initial assessment primarily).  But let me get back to a follow up treatment note.


In my follow up notes, I’ll use Subjective & Objective, and if there is something new that has come up or a change in my thinking of what’s going on (or a subtle nuance to what I think is going on), I’ll add in “I” for Impression.  Then I like to go with Rx (meaning treatment).  If you prefer you could use Tx for treatment.  Here I write what I did during the treatment THAT DAY.  I include therapy type, dosage, body part treated, etc.  Laser 2J/cm2 Superpulsed, Mobilizations T/S (dorsal glides and Transverse Pressures) – Grades 3 - 4.  (P.S.  I hate charting ‘amounts’ of manual therapy… it’s a ‘feel’ sort of a thing.  But that’s another topic.)  


If the dog had a fabulous response to my therapy (or in the case of a neuro dog) and I was to describe how the animal was after the treatment (or how he was during the session), then I’ll add a category for ‘Outcome’.  I think this is important.


Plan for me, means 1) What I plan to do next time, 2) What I’ve prescribed as homework, 3) When I want to see the patient again, 4) Anything else I PLAN to do (i.e. send note to referring doctor, email client exercise sheet, etc.)


All in all, I don’t use SOAP.  I use SOIRxOP!  And I feel ‘clean’ just the same!  If you’ve been struggling with SOAP, I hope this might work for you as well!


Cheers!  Laurie


link to this post | email a friend

Blog Categories:
Blog Archives: