Just in Time
"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.