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Life of a PTA

Performance Review

Published December 30, 2013 2:15 PM by Allison Young

Six months ago I sat down with my boss, the rehab director of the SNF where I work, to formally "go over" my yearly performance review. Luckily there were no surprises or great disparities between my self-assessment regarding my work quality and that of my department head. There was however, the point of my lower-than-the-expectation productivity. This was no surprise to me as I have to calculate my percentage each and every end of the workday.

My excuses are many, ranging from the unbillable time "wrangling" with difficult patients to unfortunate computer crashes (which the IT department is consistently working on). I know for a fact that once I walk through the facility doors and clock in for the day, I'm working 100% toward my ultimate goal -- giving my patients a quality therapy session. Unfortunately, being passionate about your job doesn't always reflect a stellar productivity percentage.

In our facility, every staff member whether a housekeeper or MD is expected to answer a call light to help our residents. This policy works toward building a more healthy "team" atmosphere for the employees, and patients benefit from having their needs met in a timely manner. The problem for the rehab staff is that every minute we're not actively working with a patient on caseload, is a minute we can't capture toward our productivity.

So, do I answer call lights and help out patients (whether on rehab or not)? Of course I do. As well, I help the aide staff when they need a second person to assist with a transfer. Sure it might be the company policy, but I look at it as not just assisting the patients but also helping the aide staff, who are constantly helping me with some of those difficult patients throughout the day.

Where else are my minutes lost? Without a doubt, it's my documentation style (or lack thereof). As much as I strive to keep up with my notes throughout the day, I simply never do. I believe it's equal parts intently focusing on the patient (if you've ever worked with an impulsive dementia patient, you know what I'm talking about) and unproductive multitasking (i.e. scheduling appointments with other PTs, writing progress notes etc.). All of these tasks need to be done during the day of course, but finding the perfect balance between documenting and the actual treatment session is tricky.

Therefore, my final resolution for the year (because I have a few) will be to raise my productivity for 2014 -- not for my next performance review necessarily, but because I work hard and I'd like a more accurate reflection of that. If anyone has any brilliant tips or strategies for reaching an 80-90% productivity level, I would love your feedback. I'll need all the help I can get! Thanks and Happy New Year everyone.

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I completely understand your frustration, today I made X 5 attempts to see a Dementia patient for 75 mins because she has to meet her RUG level today, no need to say that my productivity went down the drain...but all they care about is the minutes, no matter how many hoops you have to go through to get them. I feel so frustrated sometimes that I am thinking about a change in career, I know every profession have their ups and downs but I am ready to try something new.

soeurette georges March 6, 2014 9:03 PM
polk city FL

It's hard to do point of service documentation when your patients are maxA to CGA or close SBA...

Christina Sanseverino, PTA January 14, 2014 3:57 PM

dove-tailing is  no longer legal.. point of service documentation  and  minimal down-time  is the solution

Susie Hilson December 30, 2013 10:34 PM
Grand Rapids MI

I know exactly what you're going through. It can be very frustrating when you're trying to give your patients the hundred percent care that they need versus trying to maintain the productivity that your company requires you to. The unfortunate reality is that management has no clue about the things that we go through wether with patients or patients family members. They only see the bottom line. And wel ALL know what it is $. They don't see and understand how time consuming things really are and expect you to see a ridiculous caseload. The best advice on how my team had managed to handle this situation is to dove tale and create templates for your notes. It's time consuming at first but will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Lupe, Geriatrics - PTA, SNF December 30, 2013 10:14 PM
El Paso TX

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