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Toni Talks about PT Today

Things You Hear at Work

Published January 6, 2015 3:53 PM by Toni Patt

Many years ago there was a television show called "Kids Say the Darndest Things." I think the same could be true of our patients and families. Over the last few weeks I've heard many things that make me want to shake my head.

I was trying to help a man stand in the parallel bars. He was rather large and non-weight bearing on one leg. After several attempts he informed me he could do it just fine at home. He has one of those rocker recliners. He parks and locks his four-wheel walker in front of it, rocks and back forth until he gets up some steam. Then he can pull himself up.

A few days ago I was evaluating a woman who'd been on hospice at home but was now in the hospital. Her daughter was concerned about the hospice agency. Her mother was getting sicker and sicker and they weren't doing anything about it. Finally she took her mother to the emergency room because no one at the hospice agency would do anything.

This morning I assessed a 90-ish woman who was not arousable. My plan was to get her into a neuro chair to work on arousal and provide stimulation. Her daughter requested we wait until after lunch to get her mother out of bed. She said her mother liked to sleep late and she didn't want us to disturb her.

The list could go on. I'm not even considering all of those family members who have unrealistic expectations of therapy, overestimate the patient's ability to participate or expect me to singlehandedly lift someone who weighs at least twice as much as I do and is dead weight. I wish I had a tactful way to explain to obese people that obesity is the problem, not the diagnosis that admitted them.

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35 years in the field and currently in a wheelchair - happy you are not my therapist. *and what everyone else said*

Virginia McChesney January 10, 2015 9:14 AM

You should stay away from home care. It won't go well.

D R January 9, 2015 3:57 PM

Patient-centered therapy guides us to know what a person was like before their current disability and illness.  If your 90 year old is truly a late riser, she should be given the respect of sleeping in before being 'aroused' when the PT wants.  We have had patients that were night nurses all their lives, the nurses and us changed things around to effectively care for them.  

Kathy January 9, 2015 3:02 PM

I completely understand the premise of your post, and I agree, we hear some funny, sad, and baffling things daily during work. However, I am completely disappointed in your tone, lack of empathy and compassion as a health care provider. I surely hope you just wrote this "on a bad day" and that you truly aren't as unprofessional as this post makes you sound.

Lauri January 9, 2015 1:58 PM

Although I am not working now (as a PT) I understand the things you are saying.  Sometimes it's tough dealing with the public!!

Jerry Weisbrod, Physical Therapist January 9, 2015 1:31 PM
St. Louis MO

I guess you think because the person was obese,you blame that on his mobility and overall status how ignorant are you. You picked the wrong field.

pam January 8, 2015 6:10 PM

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