Sorry, helping is just not an option.

  1. 1
    I am so angry right now, I am not sure if this is the right place to put this. I hope you guys don't mind me ranting a bit!

    So I work for a home health agency and we are always seemingly short on physical and occupational therapists. I'm not sure what rock they are hiding under or what cave, but they always disappear as soon as we have work for them! Anyway, we recently picked up a patient that needed every possible skill imaginable including occupational therapy. This patient lives about an hour away from all of our therapists (the one who was close to where this patient was magically moved!).

    None of the therapists will take this patient even for just an evaluation. I called my boss and was told to look up therapists on the OT board in our state that they usually have phone numbers where the OT can be reached. Of course wanting to get care for this patient as soon as possible I start calling different OT's, and some of the numbers are for that persons work. I leave a message for that OT to call me back and get calls from a couple of them yelling about how unprofessional it is to call someone at their work looking for them to work for my company.

    I then explain that I am not trying to "steal" any employees, I am just in desperate need to get this patient taken care of for one evaluation visit and I could pay both the company and the OT if needed. I get 3-4 calls about how unprofessional that is (so I figure it really must be unprofessional), but I am still having a hard time understanding why it is so unprofessional.

    As a CNA, soon to be RN (hopefully!) I would want to make sure every patient is taken care of no matter what! I did not personally take on this case, and I know a few of you would say how if the patient cannot be staffed do not take on the case. I was stuck having to staff this patient after a superior took the case. I am so confused as to why these people don't just want to help out for a patient's benefit.

    If I were to receive a call asking if I could call a staff member for extra work for them I would definitely make somewhat of an effort to help. It not only shows your company is compassionate about care, but builds bridges and possibly contacts for later referrals. I was told that if I wanted to work with those people I would have to make a contract with their company (which could take weeks!).

    It seems that no one wants to help in this business, and it is really putting me down. I know everyone is out for number 1 but it's healthCARE not healthMONEY. Sorry if this made absolutely no sense at all, I'm just now frustrated and stressed out that I cannot find an OT to eval this patient and no one is willing to lift one finger to get this patient help either.
    WIN007 likes this.
  2. 14 Comments so far...

  3. 2
    I wonder if they are concerned because their current employers may listen to their messages and fire them if they start getting calls from other companies to work for them?
    netglow and Not_A_Hat_Person like this.
  4. 1
    I don't find that unprofessional. I've called other companies before. Odd. Just ignore their responses, and hopefully you find someone soon! Best of luck wishes sending your way
    WIN007 likes this.
  5. 15
    Your superior should not be leaving this on you. Your superior should not have taken a case that cannot be staffed properly with their own staff without having to look for OT elsewhere because this is putting you between a rock and a hard place.
    SN2RN2011, michelle126, nrsang97, and 12 others like this.
  6. 9
    I spent a number of years in insurance and risk management before becoming a nurse. From reading your post, I can't help but think there are other issues affecting your staffing. If work is available but no one wants it, something stinks. Perhaps reimbursement is too low, there are paperwork issues, or clients are poorly scheduled. As a CNA, you may not see this aspect of their business. Honestly, I'm not sure why this company expects you to cold-call therapists in the first place; why are you responsible for building and maintaining relationships that they seemingly cannot?

    Whatever your company is doing, something isn't working, and if *no one* seems to want to work with you, I'd look into why that is before assuming it is merely disinterest in the patient.

    I will say that insurance benefits govern much of the treatment one is entitled to, who can perform it, and the reimbursement provided. Working outside of a contract isn't as easy as you think, and isn't very smart for someone who has current employment where they are assured to be paid, are recognized as an in-network provider and have limited liability. People do deserve to be paid for their work and part of the agency's responsibility is to foster good relationships with providers, establish protocols for evals, reimbursement and expenses, (mileage and increased hourly pay, considering the distance you're asking them to cover.) Expecting others who are employed elsewhere to drop everything to drive out of their own area to see a new client without even being acquainted or having a formal agreement certainly is asking a lot, and obviously wasn't well received for that reason.

    This sounds like something your management really needs to address. JMO.

    Good luck.
  7. 2
    I do find this unprofessional. Reading your post, and correct me if I'm wrong, you were cold calling these people trying to get them to work? Like a telemarketer? Their employer may be listening to these messages and now you are putting these people in a position where it looks like they may be looking for employment elsewhere.
    himilayaneyes and netglow like this.
  8. 1
    I don't find what you did unprofessional at all. You as the caregiver were trying to help the patient which is understandable; however, like I have been told over and over again, "Healthcare is a business." As a result of healthcare being a business, the patients and staff are both a second thought. The patients because the insurance companies dominate what kind of care they can receive and the staff for having to deal with patients who are not receiving proper medical care.

    I don't know if I would have called other OT who work for other companies. I understand that your heart was in the right place, but the individual you were trying to contact might be in a position now they didn't want to be in and have to answer questions from their boss.

    Your supervisor needs to take her position in all of this and get the care the patient needs. I find way too many nursing supervisors and managers that like to throw their subordinates to the dogs to make themselves look good to the higher ups and I think "Shame on You." I do believe in karma.....and it will come around.
    WIN007 likes this.
  9. 2
    I do not think you should have this duty. Your supervisor should have resources and if not, develop them. I would consider it unprofessional if you called my employee on my time to discuss non-work-related (to me) issues. There should be another way to reach people. Their association or Board could have emails for them, or an online request form where you leave request and they call YOU.
    nrsang97 and Otessa like this.
  10. 1
    Thank you all for your thoughtful and wonderful answers! I am such a newbie to all of this and I am glad I got the opportunity to mess up young =p.

    The numbers I called were actually numbers the specific OT's had given the board to post publicly on their site and at first I did not realize most of them were companies until I got a phone call back about how unprofessional it is to call!

    I now know I have to go about it a different way, and I finally found a solution. The physical therapist can do an evaluation of whether the patient needs occupational therapy as well as PT. (thank goodness!)

    I do hope none of the OT's I called were placed in any awkward situations as I explained to the callers I found the number on the board of OT. They might possibly have to contact the board about taking down their phone number, but that might prevent other "confused" people from contacting them about extra work in the future!

    I wasn't trying to get them to work full-time or even part-time like a telemarketer, just one evaluation for a desperate person trying to find an OT.

    I am definitely going to bring this up in our next meeting, because we need to get contracted with some therapy staffing agencies. I never want to go through this again as it was so stressful!

    I also filled out an online request for PTs/OTs but haven't received any word back. I do think we pay our therapists enough (they make 2-3x as much as RNs per visit), they are just in such sparsity (if that is a word).

    Again thanks, I read this site almost every day and love the feedback and opinions!
    WIN007 likes this.
  11. 6
    You shouldn't be doing this. The RN that admitted the patient is responsible for this. If the company cannot provide the services the physician ordered then the patient needs to be discharged. It's unethical for the company and unfair to the patient to continue a relationship that does not provide the services required.
    nrsang97, himilayaneyes, nicurn001, and 3 others like this.


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