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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Packers Games and Patients

Published November 12, 2009 8:17 AM by

Last Sunday was my first experience of working during a Packers game. The other times I have worked on Sundays, the Packers have played at 3:00 p.m. By 3:00, I'm nearly done with my schedule and only have one or two patients left to see. With a noon game, however, there are over three hours of my workday when patients prefer to watch the game. 

Three patients refused therapy sessions on Sunday. All three patients had visitors and family members in their room to watch the game. I felt like an intruder, knocking on their hospital room doors, introducing myself and offering to continue with the therapy plan. Several heads turned my way with glares that read,  "How dare you interrupt our sacred Sunday tradition!" I politely excused myself, and documented my attempt to see the patient.

I can't help but think that I would likely do the same if I was the patient. If my family had driven to visit me and watch the game, I'm not sure I would opt to do some gait training. We all need time to relax, time to unwind and distract ourselves from the seriousness of being hospitalized. It's good to remember those feelings, too.  

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Use what you've got!  Sometimes you can turn a "no way" into a rehab tool!

A home health patient got me hooked on a soap opera...can't remember which one now.  He had severe vertigo (he'd vomit every time he sat up-sweet!) from a brain incident.  Initially we incorporated the soap opera into his rehab.  He didn't tolerate much therapy at a time.  We'd work during commercials and he'd watch the show - and bring me up to speed - while he rested.  For insurance, I measured and documented progress in actual seconds.  He measured progress by commercials.  He was thrilled when he could maintain sitting balance through an entire 15 second commercial!  When he progressed to being able to tolerate working through entire commercial breaks and not requiring the entire TV time to rest, we changed our appointment time.  He'd use rest breaks to update me on the characters I'd grown fond of.  

Another home health patient got me hooked on Price is Right!  I've used it during early years to augment practical math skills at home with my children, from the time they were 7.  When my oldest was 11 she was helping an 18 year old Dollar Tree cashier make change.  He made two incorrect attempts and finally she looked at the poor fella and put him out of his misery by telling him not only the correct amount of change she should receive, but the precise denominations he needed to use!  Thanks, Bob!

These are the only two patients I can remember working TV into their therapy schedule.  For them it was therapeutic for a period.  When it ceased being therapeutic we changed.

That said, even Bob Barker was no football team.  Sports is a different animal.  And, Lisa, you are have to respect the patient's desire to maintain some semblance of normal in the midst of their life being disrupted.  Particularly when family and friends are in to visit.  

I got a different perspective when I did home health and was going into a patient's turf.  Even in a clinic or hospital when the patient is technically on "our turf", it is important to respect their decisions...that respect for them will go a long way toward them cooperating.

janey goude November 16, 2009 12:55 AM

Ah the same thing happened in home care. No one could be seen at 4pm when Judge Judy came on in New York.

So what is more important? That someone receive their therapy or that they partake in normal life, sometimes in the only way possible, to the best of their ability?

If you're an insurance company the response would be,"turn off the game and do some gait training." Actually, I wouldn't blame them because they are paying for the hospital stay.

If you're a patient advocate the response would be, "Be as comfortable as possible during your stay." Which is also right to encourage patient choice and satisfaction.

Who's right?

Dean Metz November 14, 2009 12:24 PM

Same thing happens during The Price is Right in a SNF.  It was even worse when Bob Barker was the host.  No patient moved until after the Showcase Showdown.

Jason November 12, 2009 10:39 PM

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