I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Breaking Up With Your Therapist

As a PT, I've have my professional relationships with families broken off and I must admit that sometimes, it stings a bit.  Naturally, if a patient is discharged because all his or her therapy goals are met, it is cause for celebration and if patients no longer require your services because of a move or because they "age out" it is completely understandable.

But what about when the therapist and patient just don't "click?"  I have had that happen once and it made me sad to think that no matter how much I persevered, this child was just not happy with my presence.  I was not offended, but was a bit disappointed that I wasn't given more opportunities to try to build a relationship and help the kiddo make some progress.  In theory, a therapist should not be offended, but since we entered this field with the intent of helping as many people as we can, it can be a difficult pill to swallow.  If the "breakup" is handled well, with positive communication and a mutual understanding, the entire process will go much more smoothly.

Another tough situation is when the therapist doesn't seem invested in you.  I find myself in this situation currently and as a therapist myself, I am having difficulty making the break.  My son has special needs and his neurologist recommended a particular Occupational Therapist to us.  We really like this OT and think he has a good rapport with our son but his business is so disorganized that we can't take it anymore.  They have very few openings (another business venture creates many conflicts with the provision of OT services), they have cancelled or rescheduled multiple times, promised return phone calls never occur, and a comment was made about how I have "so" many children.  We paid a pretty penny for my son's OT evaluation and don't feel like we're getting our money's worth.  So what to do?

I would like to approach this therapist, professional-to-professional and discuss why I want to pursue OT from another facility.  Sounds easy enough, but I had met this OT during my contractual internship about 10 years ago and there's a bit of professional history there that I wouldn't want to taint.  I am hoping that being honest, forthright, and professional will actually help this clinician improve his business in the long-run.  But for the time being, my son's development is the most important thing to us and we can't go on like this.

Have you ever been in this situation?  How did you handle it? 

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