Don't forget to vote!

Deadline for feedback on RA motions is March 28- that's next Friday, AOTA members.

You can find info about the RA motions in the March 10 issue of OT Practice, or this page which has links to all the papers and reports. You can voice your concerns to your state rep by filling out this survey.

I attended part of an RA meeting as part of my stint as a student delegate. Honestly, I find meetings in general to be pretty boring and this was no exception. I am not willing to learn parliamentary procedure and hash out word by word details of various motions that I find to be soporific. Thankfully, there are some people who are willing to take on this responsibility, but without feedback, they are on their own for decisions. While some consider most of the RA motions to be of no concern, it should be noted that there has been a lot of heated debate on the Phys-Dys listserv about Motion 1. These motions can affect the future of OT practice, so it's worth taking 20-30 minutes to give your rep some feedback about what you want for your future. Do it soon though!


the Downside

So the other major downside of working with both the hospitalized elderly and the school age outpatients is that I have been catching pretty much every cold that has gone around. Flu (despite the flu shot), URIs, head colds... I have had enough! It is pretty hard to time your hospital treatments around the 90 minutes that dayquil is working, and then I had to take a backseat far away from my medically fragile kids. Is my immune system ever going to catch up with this environment?


Dueling Jobs

I work, as some of you know, for a hospital of a smaller city (population: under 20,000). Our entire OT department is comprised of 4 OTs and a COTA and we cover acute hospital cases, short term SNF rehabilitation, and outpatient therapy. The outpatient department has built up a thriving practice focused on hand therapy and work hardening; the inpatient department has its ups and downs of census and minutes needed each week. Different documentation, different mindsets, different world. Inpatient and outpatient are in separate buildings, approximately 300 feet apart, and few employees cross over at any time.

I am one of the few exceptions. I cross over 3/4 days a week at different times due to the (continually growing) caseload. It is a challenge, and a balancing act. I have to be very motivated in the hospital so that I can get my adult caseload seen, but I have to be careful not to be so motivated that I take on extra evals and don't have time to finish paperwork before heading to OP. If I don't, that just adds to my documentation docket for after my 2-5 peds appointments. Other OP people are MUCH better at time management for documentation than I am, but my kids require full hands-on and mind-on concentration during their session.

Since I haven't been able to strike a good balance yet between the dueling demands of the job, I've wound up staying late most nights. As I discussed earlier, I also try to put in a little work each week, reading OT Practice, listservs or relevant books. There is also a lack of balance here, as my at-home continuing ed has been focused almost solely on developing my peds skills. (Or writing up reports for these kids' MDs, as I am today). I worry that I will let my other skills just sort of coast, instead of working harder to be better at neuro and ortho. But I am limited. There is only so much time in the day, and only so much that I can bear to devote solely to OT.

Anyone else have tips from living in this dueling lifestyle? And how on earth does anyone manage to do this when they have a family?!


More support for occupation

The title link goes to a story by the Washington Post about creative stimulation helping geriatric clients stay healthier, take fewer medications and improve their quality of life. It is one of those "common sense" things that we are taught in OT school, but I love to see people outside the profession actually acknowledging the benefits of occupation, even if they don't word it in those terms. I had a hard time recently getting a middle aged woman to understand WHY she should continue to let her mother in law participate in I/ADLs when she would need to be supervised and might not be able to do the whole task. This article seems to be more in reference to activities at a nursing home or adult day care, but it is a principle that we use in practice and has been well validated (SEE: Lifestyle Redesign / USC Well Elderly Study). I know from experience that it can be hard to find funding for OTs to work in an adult day care, and you certainly don't want to be only seen as an activity planner, but occupation can be very beneficial to the participants. There is a thread on the AOTA phys-dys SIS listserv right now running about occupation based tx vs. OTs being UE specialists. Hopefully since my SNF half of my job started slowing down this week, I'll be able to have clients doing some more involved, occupation based things instead of some of the more boring and rote things that seem to happen on a busy day.


OT books

In a random browsing of amazon, I came across this list of "Important Books for EVERY Occupational Scientist." Odd anyway, since there aren't a lot of OT lists, but the author of this is Charles Christiansen, well-known OT author and also the new executive director of AOTF. Admittedly, I've read none of these books, though I did make an attempt at Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance a few years ago. But I thought that I would share what made his list with my fellow OTs.