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COTA Thoughts

Memorable Patients

Published March 23, 2013 11:11 AM by Tim Banish
 

Just this week I had a patient who made my day. This person was very friendly, willing to participate addressing all of their goals, and had some great stories. It made the entire treatment pass so quickly I went way over the scheduled time.

 

But this got me thinking about patients I've worked with over the years, especially some who I will never forget. Being a COTA is often a tough job, but it's all made up by those few moments of enjoyable memories some patients will leave behind. Here's a few of my memories;

 

This is the story I tell the most, I'll call him Joe. He was 99 years old when I met him after an elective hip replacement. Joe didn't look his age, and had more energy than someone half his age. At the time I was working the contract thing and did visits in nursing homes, hospitals and home health. Anyway, Joe did great in the nursing home setting and went home, by himself, in just ten days. He went home that soon as he wanted to be at home to celebrate his 100th birthday. Everyone was concerned due to his age, and it was a pleasant surprise when his name came up on my home health list. Week one and he was doing fine, but still lacking endurance, needing frequent rest breaks. I'm sure some of this was due to the huge birthday party his family held for him this week. By week two he was back to his "old self", as he said, and had completed or exceeded all his set goals. When I put his name in for discharge my supervisor said he can't be ready yet, keep working with him. Arriving for our first visit in week three I found Joe up a ladder on the side of his house cleaning the gutters! He was discharged the next day.

 

Females are normally hesitant to allow a male to be present during personal care, such as showering or dressing. My next memorable patient is a lady (I'll call her Sarah) who suffered a severe stroke and was not expected to survive. In fact her husband was scheduled to fill the bed at the nursing home after a heart attack, and this is what caused Sarah to have the stroke. Unfortunately he passed away. At the time I was pretty new as a COTA, and Sarah was very open to allow me to address any personal care. She was educated on adaptive methods for bathing and the use of adaptive equipment for dressing. Due to loss of movement of her dominant upper extremity using the reacher was a difficult task, and she struggled with it until discharge. Shortly after her discharge I left this facility, but passed by it every day. Several months later I finished work earlier than normal one day and decided to stop by this facility. Sarah was sitting by the front door, and immediately asked me to come down to her room. In her room she wheeled her chair past the bedside table and dropped her coin purse on the floor. As I went to pick it up for her, she stopped me. "I've been practicing what you taught me, watch what I can do now" she said as she took her reacher and picked the coins off the floor!

 

As much as I could tell many more stories about memorable patients I'll stop here. Hopefully working as a COTA you'll find some pleasurable memories with some of your patients.

 

Until next time, hope all your "Thoughts" are Good-

Tim

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