We all know that when you work in healthcare you face billing, productivity standards, and insurance regulations. After all, the healthcare profession is a business as well as a service. But the service we provide is to real, human people. People with families, feelings, frustrations, and fears.
I’ll admit, when I first started working as a practicing therapist (and honestly sometimes even now), finding the balance between quality and quantity was challenging. It can be hard to see a patient or resident who’s not on caseload struggling with something that you can easily solve.
It can also be hard to not look at a list of to-do’s (aka: patients to treat) and not want to check everyone off the list as efficiently as possible.
I’m gonna tell you right now, I don’t fully know the answer to this problem. But I do know this:
When I surrender each treatment session to Christ, and allow His Holy Spirit to overtake my actions and words, my sessions naturally have substance and quality.
For those of you who are not Christian, this might not mean much to you. I’m just saying, when I strive to love and serve people well, the pressure to meet productivity standards goes away. The focus completely shifts to one of ‘how can I use these next 45-50 minutes to serve this person’.
Service for each patient looks somewhat different; sometimes they need a listening ear, sometimes they need emotional support, sometimes they need you to intervene or advocate for them among other disciplines.
No matter what, I work to keep the treatment session focused solely on the patient and the patient alone, allow that designated time to be just for them.
Then during those in-between times, work to advocate and communicate for each patient as best as I can.
Quality vs. quantity becomes equally as important when helping patients to identify long-term goals. I have encountered some instances in which a patient’s family wants the patient to make great strides in therapy. But the patient is 95 years old, has multiple comorbidities (but is medically stable at present), has achieved a functional state of self-care task performance, wheelchair mobility, and social engagement, and simply doesn’t have a personal goal to walk distances or tolerate standing for 10+ minutes.
This is when we as the OT advocate for the patient’s quality of life. We don’t have to make great physical strides in order to make therapeutic gains.
Remember that the point of OT is to improve quality and function based on the patient’s personal goals.
So communicate with your patients. Advocate for them. Educate them. Serve them. Love them.