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PTA Blog Talk

Just in Time

Published January 14, 2014 10:04 PM by Jason Marketti

"Oh, you're just in time," the lady said when I walked into her room. "I was trying to dial a phone number, can you do it for me?"

I'm in the facility to provide a needed service to these patients; I get paid to provide that service. I'm under productivity scrutiny every time I step into a facility. I'm not here to dial phone numbers, get extra pillows and blankets and water and tuck people under the covers. The patients are in the SNF environment to get stronger to go home and I'm a facilitator of that process. My employer doesn't pay me to run around the facility answering call lights and making sure all the patients have what they need to be comfortable. I'm paid to deliver a service in the spectrum of care called physical therapy.

With that said, I did dial the number for the patient and went to see another patient who was willing to work immediately. Realistically, I don't have the time to play fetch with patients. They have a call light and can ring nursing staff anytime. Why does a patient choose to ask me for items when I walk into her room? Lack of professional respect for the therapy profession? Possibly. Some patients have told me they don't like to disturb the nursing staff because they're so busy. And I have all the free time to be their valet.

I remind patients to ring for the nursing staff if they need anything. But patients have short memories at times. "Can you take me to the laundry room to help me find my socks?" a patient asks. "Oh yes, because I have nothing better to do than serve you, my liege," I say under my breath. I get the patient up and we walk to the laundry room, focusing on balance and stability the whole way. Since the patient was so focused on finding her little bootie socks, we weren't able to utilize the gym, thus depriving the patient of a full therapy experience. Perhaps in the next session we'll have more time, unless the patient gives me a shopping list.

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2 comments

This will be my last comment for your blog, because i will not waste my time again...but I feel you have been in the field too long, or are just burnt out? Physical Therapy is not just about getting the patient to the "gym" to do their "so called" exercises, that you probably do with everyone of your patients, because you can't get out of your own pompous way! If someone wants you to go to the laundry room to grab her socks or get you an item in their room...MAKE IT A THERAPY EXERCISE....and Oh My GOD...is that functional also?!  mmmmmm? Stand up, sit down, walk to the other side of the room, squat to look into the washer or stand on your toes to look into the dryer?!  wow...physical therapy!  Don't look now but you would actually be helping someone get more functional!  aka physical therapy. Stop working with these people and do yourself a favor, don't think you are helping someone, because you showed them how to do a SAQ!  Teach them to help themselves and both of you will be alot more happy and you will hopefully more fulfilled with your job

David Hadley, Physical Therapy - Physical Therapist January 29, 2014 8:36 PM
Chandler AZ

I find your statements to be true! However, at times the patients don't realize half the time who's who due to cognitive deficits or they just don't know. I usually tell them that I'll let the nursing staff know what they need and in the mean time let's get your therapy completed. And if all else fails your therapy will include the task the patient wants to get done!

Mary Stapert January 16, 2014 1:43 PM

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About this Blog


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