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Raising the Bar in Rehab

Working from Home

Published July 24, 2014 2:44 PM by Lisa Mueller

I went on a tour of a physical therapy facility recently. When documentation was discussed, the facility supervisor happily explained their new electronic documentation system and the ability to log in remotely and complete notes from home or any other location. My ears perked up. Documentation anywhere! Oh, the possibilities! But, as I thought about this idea further, I'm not sure the option is truly beneficial.

I notice a significant decline in the quality of my patient documentation, or documentation of meeting notes the longer I wait to write them. I can't remember details as well and it's harder to separate each patient, or each meeting, from the other events of the day if I save my documentation until later. So while the idea of documenting from home is appealing, it's not the best option for me most of the time. There are some days when I'll be interrupted at my desk or just can't concentrate on my computer and being able to take my work elsewhere is helpful, but overall it isn't worth the delay. I've been surprised and impressed by other people (my clinical instructors!) who don't have the same problem as I do and can recall lots of information sometimes days after a patient appointment.

I've met several people throughout the past few years who prioritize working from home as a critical part of their job satisfaction. This isn't usually an option for physical therapists or other professions with hands-on work with patients but brings up the conversation of the working environment possibilities. I'd imagine there are times when working at home will present interruptions as well, although these are probably more related to house chores! I remember studying in my apartment in school and finding myself stepping away to switch laundry over, or put dishes away, or quickly vacuum. I'm sure these same distractions would exist when working at home!

Some questions I'd love to get your input on -- How do you work best? Background noise? Complete silence? In an open gym area or in a private treatment room? Does your facility offer mobile computer-on-wheels, laptops, or stationary desktop computers? Does your employer allow working remotely? If so, does it help you stay on top of your administrative work?

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The idea of documenting at home seems intriguing at first. I have a concern. Imagine if some companies expected one to do 100% face time treatments between 9 and 5 then expected staff to write notes at home on their own time? Given productivity expectations in some SNFs, I could see this being a real concern.

I worked for a company in New York that allowed us to do some work from home. I would go into the office anyway so that I wouldn't be distracted by all those other "temptations" at home. It worked well for some, but not for me.

Dean Metz July 24, 2014 4:08 PM

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