Fun in Therapy
Therapy can be monotonous at times, especially if I'm seeing too many total joint replacements. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do, but going through the same routine every day can be a bit boring. I will try and break up the session of therapy and do the exercises in the morning and the higher-level balance activity in the afternoon. Anything for a change like going outside, entering and exiting vehicles, up two flights of stairs etc. And as soon as patients are independent with their exercise programs, it's time to have fun.
I usually start by telling them they have to attain a certain amount of points before they can go home. As they look at me quizzically, I tell them they'll also have an essay to write about their surgery and to absolutely ensure they leave the facility, they'll need to remember everyone's name. Most of the time they understand it's a joke and when I begin to smile, then they fully understand I'm not serious.
When certain patients are in the process of leaving and packing their room, I'll stop by and tell them there's a change of plans and they'll have to stay another week and do more therapy. This usually gets them packing quicker and pushing me out of the room. At this point, most of the patients I see know I'm mischievous and like to have fun.
Years ago, when I was a bit more serious and stern about what I did, a patient told me, "You should have more levity in what you do because you deal with so much from so many." It wasn't an instantaneous change for me to "lighten up." As I got more comfortable in the work environment, felt more at ease and better able to understand what I know and don't know, that's when the change occurred. The other therapists I worked with had a lot to do with it as well and some of the fun we had in the department naturally rubbed off during patient care.