Perfection, everyone desires it. But when is it absolutely necessary to be perfect? I certainly didn't need perfect grades to graduate, and I didn't need them to get my PTA license. Our driver's license test even allows for errors. So, when is perfection needed?
If our 90-year-old client is bent over their walker during gait yet they are safe, should we demand perfection in posture and sequencing during the Rancho Los Amigos gait cycle we all know so well? What about our knee patients? Is being off a few degrees during our goinometer measurement going to adversely affect their care and our treatment program?
If a patient performs ankle circles rather than our prescribed ankle pumps what should we do? What if the dementia patient does not recall weight-bearing status or their hip precautions, yet we have an order for gait and functional mobility? And God forbid if our athletes forget to ice post treatment as we have demanded them to do.
There are times when we need to follow stated precautions exactly as prescribed-and if we need the patient positioned to work just the right aspect of the muscles that need strengthening, we have to be exact so they get better. Yes, our documentation has to be fairly perfect but what if I am not a good speller or I forget to write I did quad sets with the patient? Will that affect the care the patient received from me?
I doubt an order for PT with a diagnosis of generalized weakness will need exacting protocols or strict precautions. I can simply do generalized exercises to get the patient stronger, right?
I may sound cynical with being perfect especially when it comes to treating patients. I have found we do not have to be perfect to get the results we desire when it comes to getting our patients better. We don't have to write the perfect note with the exact medical terminology to find our patients succeeding in our care. And one thing is for sure, there is no such thing as the perfect patient or the perfect therapist.