"We are experienced licensed physical therapy assistants and certified occupational therapy assistants. We made it through intense college programs. We spent hundreds of dollars and studied hundreds of hours to sit for hours and pass a state boards exam to get our license. We are drowning in student loan debt. We bi-annually pay hundreds of dollars out of pocket to continue our education and maintain our license. We care for every patient we see.
We will hold a basin while you vomit. We help you to the bathroom. We team up with nursing staff so that you can get the care you need quickly when you are so debilitated you need 2 people to roll you over in bed. We give out high fives and hugs when you are finally able to sit up at the edge of the bed by yourself or when you are able to move an arm or leg you thought would be paralyzed forever. We pay attention to every little detail - how can we position you so your pressure wound on your back heals? What adjustments can we make to your wheelchair to keep you comfortable and independent? We brainstorm with our PTs and OTs and research ways to reduce your Parkinson's tremor or relieve your chronic pain or set you up so you are able to feed yourself. We will try anything.
We work as a team to find ways to incorporate activities into our session so that you are able to enjoy the holidays when you are staying with us. We will push you out into the sunshine to do your exercises and take walks to help you relax and refresh.
We will step into your world of aphasia and speak to you as if everything makes perfect sense. Your impulsivity doesn't scare us, we are trained to help you redirect and find a sense of calm. We celebrate with you when your hard work pays off and you're finally ready to leave us and return home. We retrieve tissues to wipe away tears and encourage you to do the things you think you can not do. We see your potential and we advocate for you. We fight with insurance companies to pay for the care you need. We listen to your stories, meet your families and are invested in your success. And if you spend enough time with us and we get to know you well enough, we will sit by your bedside and hold your hand while you're dying and your family can't get there in time.
Our commitment to and care for you runs deep. But right now we are struggling to keep jobs. Struggling for hours. Sacrificing more and more weekends and holidays and time away from our families. Struggling to find jobs. Taking $20k paycuts annually to work under increasingly demanding and unrealistic expectations. Struggling to pay back student loans. Many of us are talking about leaving our profession or have no choice but to find a new profession. I hope in 5 years you still have these kind of therapists. I hope you are getting the care you need. I hope that everyone who sees this knows how much we love what we do and our patients that we care for. Our profession is in a scary place right now. I hope things change. Medicare sets the standard for the reimbursement and longevity of our profession. I hope they listen."