This week at work we all received a huge blow. To save $$$, the company I work for merged with the hospital I work in. Not so bad. And to save $$ even further, they eliminated all the rehab techs. NOT GOOD. But the new director won't listen to reason.
What does a rehab tech do? Well, they are part of our support staff. It's a relatively unskilled job, but it's an extremely important one. They help the therapists. They are an extra pair of hands when a patient is unsteady. They help to supervise exercises with orthopedic patients. They help when we do whirlpool treatments for wounds by setting up the supplies and the whirlpool and by cleaning up the supplies when we are done and cleaning and disinfecting the whirlpool, a job that takes about an hour. (in addition to the hour long whirlpool treatment) They help us with menial jobs like photocopying and mail delivery. They help the speech therapists with modified barium swallow exams, they help the PT's with tilt tables and standing frames. On the rehab unit they help get patients to and from group therapy sessions, they help to run the groups, they help to be the extra pair of hands for safety. They help set up patients with ice packs and heat, and they clean up when we are done. They set up and break down equipment, they are voices of encouragement for patients. They are the behind the scenes work behind ALL of the therapy that goes on in the hospital, on the rehab unit, in the outpatient center,s and they are VITAL to the running of any physical therapy program anywhere. And now they're gone.
Never mind that they laid off employees who have been working for the company for 5, 10, and 35 years. Never mind that tuition reimbursements were counted on, and that children at home needed to be fed. Never mind that retirement has been totally screwed up. Never mind that this laying off boss is brand new, not ever before meeting the techs. He basically called them into a meeting and said "Hi, Nice to meet you, You're fired." Never mind all that, because this saves $$$. 50-75 grand per person per year, with salary and benefits etc.
Patient care WILL go down the toilet. Therapists will be wasting valuable patient time doing things that were once done by the techs. An hour whirlpool treatment will now take 2 to 2.5 hours. In that extra hour and a half, 2-3 more patients could be seen. We are SO behind on our evals and treatments, its ludicrous to waste an extra hour cleaning a whirlpool. Treating ortho patients will take much longer. We will have to go hunt for the PCT's (Patient Care Technician, aka Nurses Aide) to help us be an extra pair of hands instead of our techs. And the PCT's are overworked and busy enough! Group sessions will be virtually impossible on the rehab unit. By the time the therapist gets all the patients to the session, it will be half over. With the tech, they started getting them ready before the session started, so the therapist would get there from treating another patient and they could just start the session. Now time will be wasted gathering and dispersing. All this time, taken away from patients. Nevermind that it usually takes two people to run many of these groups in the firstplace.
It is SO crazy to think of taking away our techs, but the man in charge is a suit and has NO CLUE what is needed to smoothly run a successful and more importantly QUALITY Physical/Occupational and Speech Therapy program, Acute, Rehab, and Outpatient. I can't even begin to describe the losses not to the therapists, but to the patients! I don't mind cleaning a whirlpool, but wouldn't my time and skills be better spent treating a patient? I mean who loses? Patients won't get seen, and THEN, for the suits so worried about $$$, we won't have as much billable time, because we're too busy cleaning whirlpools and photocopying eval forms. I, as all of the therapists are, am VERY upset at this.
Unfortunately, the new boss-man won't listen. He's set on it and it's done and that is that.
Let me ask you this, can a large business function without a secretary or receptionist? (Unprofessional) Can a Hospital function without the nurses aides? (There would be an UPROAR!) How would the service be at a restaurant if the waiters were too busy clearing tables and loading the dishwashers, because the busboys were all fired? (I'd never get my food, and either walk out or never come back)
So let me ask again, how can we function with no Rehab Techs? The answer, we can't. And yet, somehow, we're going to have to find a way, and it's NOT going to be good. Therapists will be overwhelmed, overworked, and unhappy, but more importantly, PATIENTS will suffer the most consequences. And that's just NOT right.