Dedication to the PT Profession
If there's one thing that holds true for inpatient rehab, it's that something is bound to go wrong with discharge planning. This is what I took away from clinical this week. When 4:45 came around on Friday afternoon and I was finally putting together my coverage notes, the phone rang and for the first time since I started on this floor, it was for me. On the phone was a patient's mother, which began an hour-and-a-half-long test of my problem-solving abilities.
It will help to know, briefly, the back story. This patient came to us from a skilled nursing facility nine months after his initial injury. He had been through the ringer when it came to the healthcare system, and by the time he got to us, there were a lot of things to figure out. His injury was incomplete around the C4-C5 level, and he made a lot of functional gains during his stay in inpatient rehab. The hardest part to coordinate was his equipment, mostly due to the fact that he came from a different state. We spent weeks getting everything together, contacting vendors, and ordering equipment. He left on Friday morning, and it only took about three hours for everything to unravel.
As it turns out, the Hoyer sling never arrived. Well, it did arrive -- but the first time they sent the wrong one, and then the second order was never completed. This unfortunately meant that my patient was going to be stuck in his wheelchair. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with the medical equipment company, which was completely un-phased by the situation and thought it was acceptable for the sling to arrive at the end of this coming week. (Thus, in reality, asking my patient to spend seven days in his wheelchair). I spent another 45 minutes on the phone with the patient's family trying to problem-solve a way to get him out of the chair. We even considered the fire company.
In the end, everything worked out. The family was at least able to get the patient in bed using a transfer board and three people, and he's not going to develop a million pressure ulcers. I left work at 6 p.m., late for a bachelorette party I had planned, but with a new respect for my role in patients' lives. My clinical instructor, who stayed right along with me, made me realize what it means to be dedicated to the profession. It was one of those lessons that will stick with me for a very long time.