I’m so thankful I’m learning this one early. I was a bit bummed a couple of weeks ago when a patient of mine switched to another therapist’s schedule (one that was also treating his wife). He was a tricky patient to work with mainly because I believe he has other factors at play (previous history of TBIs (yes, plural) and some depression). He was difficult to work with because I felt like I had to hold his hand through every exercise and he wasn’t doing anything at home. He kept saying “I just want to get better” but then never did anything I told him to do. So, while I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to do more for him and that he thought someone else could do better, I was a little relieved to see him go. Still, striving for perfection can really bring a person down and I’m learning that you just can’t make everyone better…or happy.
The two other therapists I work with had some similar things happen this week. One had recently called one of her patients who had cancelled her last two visits only to hear that she had gone to another clinic. The therapist was really bummed about it and I think she’s still trying to get over it. The other therapist had a patient ask to be switched to somebody else’s schedule because they didn’t feel like she spent very much time with them.
I don’t want patients to be unhappy or the other therapists to be upset, but it was nice to see that it wasn’t JUST me. I’ve learned in my clinical rotations that there is more than one way to treat a patient. Each CI had a different approach. Was one better than the other? I don’t know, but the patients were getting better. So when a patient switches off of your schedule, maybe it’s just that your particular approach isn’t for them. It doesn’t make you any less intelligent. It doesn’t mean you are a bad therapist. But maybe the way that you like to go about treating X, Y, and Z isn’t the most compatible with the patient. Just let that patient go and focus on all the other patients who you’ve made great changes with! 🙂