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PTA Blog Talk

Where's My Aide?

Published April 6, 2011 4:22 PM by Jason Marketti

Several companies I worked for in the recent past have eliminated the PT aide position. Since the aide is not a billable service, I understand why. Instead of having the patients brought to me, I have to locate them. And if I want to do a group activity, I have to "park" everyone outside the gym doors since the patients are not allowed to stay in the gym unattended. (But they can wander the grounds outside unattended).

As I was walking a patient the other day, I needed two hands on him to facilitate weight shifting and advancement of the involved leg. At the same time, I had to swing one arm back to pull the wheelchair behind us in case he wanted to immediately sit. This posed some concern because I would have to release the facilitation and risk him losing balance and momentum of gait. What usually worked in the past was the aide following me with a wheelchair. I was able to concentrate solely on the facilitation and not worry about where the chair was going to be.

I could use the parallel bars and go 12 feet maximum, I could set up another chair across the room and hope the patient is able to go that far without collapse, or I could enlist the CNA to push the chair because that person has all the time in the world to help therapy.

And incidentally some family members think I learned how to pull a wheelchair behind me while doing gait training in school. No, that "skill" was learned in acute care from some amazing CNAs and PT aides. They also showed me how to tie oxygen tanks to IV poles and attach those to the wheelchairs for easy transport. Families offer to push chairs but I hesitate only because they may not fully recognize when their loved one is having difficulty with mobility and may not bring up the chair when I need it the most.


Very good point, Janey.

Jeanne April 12, 2011 8:28 PM

If I'm remembering correctly, you are now the Rehab/PT manager/supervisor, which means you are in a position to initiate change.  The responsibilities you have idenitified as lacking are ones that could be fulfilled by trained volunteers.  Have you considered instituting a volunteer program?  

You could do PR at local high schools and colleges - think career days.  You could also tap into the homeschool community in your area.  You could present your volunteer opportunity to nearby PT programs for them to offer to students who inquire about their program and seek information about volunteer opportunities.  

If you allowed volunteers to sit in on staff training and provided them with education (tell them what you are doing as you are gait training and why), that would be an attractive, and valuable experience for those who are interested in pursuing a career in the rehab field.

Janey Goude April 6, 2011 10:11 PM

A brilliant example of yet another poor management choice. If you are busy locating your patients, you can't bill for that time. You will wind up seeing fewer patients because of the additional non-treatment work you have to do. Be prepared for management to start asking why your numbers are down! Not to mention with the contortions of guarding and pulling a chair behind you, you raise the risk for self injury as well. Do I hear workman's comp claim?

Penny wise, pound foolish.

Cheers, Dean

Dean Metz April 6, 2011 11:39 AM

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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