Another eventful week in outpatient rehabilitation. Seems as though we are seeing many "repeat offenders," as some call them; however, for different diagnoses than before. Working in the same facility for 20 years, we have patients who started with us when the hospital opened. They are proud of the fact that they knew us "back in the day," when in fact, we are proud of the fact they have stayed with us for their medical and rehabilitation needs. From a small, 100-bed, community-based hospital to over 300 beds (I think... not sure... new bed towers built and opened recently), people grow within a facility, both patients and employees.
The "repeat offenders" are the patients who come to us every so often for health issues. It sounds a bit derogatory, but in fact, these patients are the ones who work the hardest in therapy, listen closely, respect us highly and put the word out in the community about us. They visit us on holidays, write letters, call administration and remember the things we tell them about our personal lives. For example, more than a couple patients remember female staff by "when you were pregnant with your second daughter," and can name our children, even when we can't remember their name!
A connection was made with several patients in the past, who underwent knee arthroscopies more than a few years ago, and now they return to have a TKR. There are those who want the same therapist they had 10 years ago, and of course we honor their wishes. As a growing facility, however, we have employed new graduates, hand-picked by staff, who show the potential to grow with us and provide only the very best care. In time, the "repeat offenders" offer their opinions about the quality, compassionate care our fresh faces provide, and we listen to them because we know they are truthful in their words.
On a final note, attending a funeral for a "repeat offender" is a surreal moment that is held close to our hearts. We have attended a funeral for a 13-year-old boy, who was seeing us for a baseball injury, but died tragically at home. We continue to work with the families of these patients, as we provided only the very best care with our hands and hearts. What an impact we have had on these families, and even more important is the impact they have had on us. Thank goodness for "repeat offenders," they make us what we have become today.