“I also found being called Sir rather silly.” ~Harold Pinter
I was tired. It was a long day and only 3:00! Pearlsky came home and, as an aside, the aide mentioned Pearlsky had physical therapy. I looked at the sign-off sheet that comes home, and there was no therapy sign-off. I sent the teacher an email and yes, I admit, the last part of the very short email may not have been fully appropriate.
All of the sudden B is forgetting multiple times to sign off on having given Pealsky PT? I find it hard to believe it is simple forgetfulness unless all of the sudden a couple of weeks ago she had a stroke or something.
The next day, on the back of the sign-off sheet, this was written (an actual scan):
Sorry, that really made my blood boil. Not sure why, but really. I sent her an email, cc’ing the high school special ed director, the superintendent in charge of special ed, and the teacher.
You refer to the note that comes home with Pearlsky as a “silly sheet.” In case you have not noticed, Pearlsky has no communication. There is absolutely no way for me to know if she got her meds, and by whom, if she got her therapies, and by whom, without said “silly sheet.” As her father and guardian, I have not only a need but a right to know that she is getting her mandated services, and both on time and by the right staff.
You have missed giving Pearlsky her mandated physical therapy on multiple occasions, some I know by the blank space on said “silly sheet” and some by others happening to mention it. I have no clue how many sessions you have missed that I do not know about.
It is called accountability. Pearlsky deserves no less.
Moron. Then she sends me a response. Don’t people ever learn not to hand me fuel?
I have only missed one session that was not made up. My priority is to provide Pearlsky with her services but on occasion may forget to sign the sheet. You do receive notes from the teacher letting you know I saw Pearlsky so if I forget to sign it you have his note to verify I was there. If you have questions about the services I am providing you can email me directly. Going to administrators without first talking to me seems like you are trying to get me into trouble. I have worked with Pearlsky for over ten years and her well being has always been important to me. I do not know why this has become a problem this year. Please let me know the dates you believe I missed and I will check my records.
There is just so much wrong with that response. Can you find all the asinine things in there? Then, finally, this went out to the two administrators, not the PT:
B’s response to my email is mind boggling. I cannot think of another word for it.
I wrote a response but then decided she does not even deserve a response. I am sending it to you so you can see what she said, and what I would have responded with. I won’t send it on to her, feel free to handle it as you see fit.
As you will see, I am sure she will now be extra angry thinking that once again I am “trying to get her in trouble.” She has no concept that her actions may get her in trouble, not my noting them. I guess this *is* high school …
Thank you for your support of Pearlsky … we wish you happy holidays.
EMAIL FROM PT:
>I have only missed one session that was not made up.
I never mentioned whether or not sessions were made up, so I am not sure of your point. My point was that you do not always inform me that you in fact provided services, and that Pearlsky is incapable of it, hence the “silly” note.
>My priority is to provide Pearlsky with her services but on occasion may forget to sign the sheet.
My priority is to make sure that she gets her services, and I can only do that with the silly sheets.
>You do receive notes from the teacher letting you know I saw Pearlsky so if I forget to sign it you have his note to verify I was there.
It is not the teacher’s responsibility to verify to me that you are doing your job. It was made very clear when he started with his notes that the initialed sheet would continue, so this is moot. He misses things during the day and his notes are not always complete.
>If you have questions about the services I am providing you can email me directly. Going to administrators without first talking to me seems like you are trying to get me into trouble.
“Trying to get [you] into trouble”? How absurd is that? YOUR ACTIONS may or may not get you into trouble. My documentation of them does not get you into trouble. If your characterization of parental notification as “silly” gets you in trouble, I take no responsibility for that.
>I have worked with Pearlsky for over ten years and her well being has always been important to me. I do not know why this has become a problem this year.
It became a problem when, according to multiple written sources, Pearlsky missed over a month of PT services due to your actions two summers ago. Ever since then she has missed many sessions some I know, some I am sure I don’t. The only problem now is your forgetting to sign the “silly” sheet. You obviously do not understand the importance of my monitoring Pearlsky’s services, this is about her physical well being, period. I will not allow a repeat of mysterious missing services.
>Please let me know the dates you believe I missed and I will check my records.
There is no point. Besides, you probably just forgot to sign the silly sheet those days.
Have I ever told you that I hate idiots?
Yes, I believe you have. But it doesn’t hurt to hear it again. I have found myself hating idiots quite a bit lately as well, perhaps partially due to you.
A happy Chanukah to you. May you receive the gift of sensible and effective staff for your kids.
This is a rare occasion on which I think the teacher has some valid points/feelings.
I just started a new job, and although I like the work and the people, one of the few frustrating things about it is that I have to clock in and out to prove that I was at work and how many hours I performed. Frankly, it feels demeaning to have to prove over and over again that I am a reasonable, professional person who does my job.
I don’t know what else might be going on with this PT, but with nothing else against her, I can understand why a bureaucratic rule like signing the sheet is not her priority. From YOUR perspective, it is proof she has done her job. From HER perspective, it is proof that she is not taken seriously as a trained professional who is trustworthy and hard-working.
Yes, she should be signing the sheet if ONLY because it is important to you, Pearlsky’s father. And yes, signing the sheet is part of her job. However, my advice is, if (IF) this teacher is helping Pearlsky and the only issue is that she forgets to sign the sheet, then just keep reminding her but don’t get on her case like this anymore, not in such a heavy-handed way. The essential aspect of her job is that she is giving Pearlsky physical therapy. From her perspective — and she’s not wrong — the paperwork is not part of her core responsibility.
It is important to you that she sign the sheet, but her signing it is not what makes the PT happen. If she’s doing the PT, then give her a break. The strong wording in your emails doesn’t ONLY make her remember to sign the sheets, it also demeans her, even more than the sheet of paper she has to sign every time.
I disagree – documentation is a key part of any health care professional’s job, and not just to cover your patootie. Documentation ensures continuity of care – what works, what doesn’t, how often, any problems that keep popping up, and so on. Even if she has been working with P for 10 years, how many other patients does she have? And what if she was run over by a bus tomorrow and someone else had to pick up where she’d left off? And with patients who are not able to take full responsibility for coordinating their health care, the family is absolutely key to ensuring continuity, and that means they need excellent communication with health care providers.
I can feel the frustration grow as I have read your posts these last few weeks (months?) and with my own son, who has similar disabilities to P, about to start school next year you have given me such a list of things to watch out and prepare for. Thank You for that.
I’ve been a lurker around here for a while and something about this post and the comments it generated made me want to finally jump in and introduce myself. I come by way of both Ken and Heather who I have come to know fairly well in the last year.
I do have to respectfully disagree with Sarah B though where she maintains “that the paperwork is not part of her core responsibility”. Paperwork is the only accountability that we as parents have to ensure that these things are being done. I make our current Physical therapist, (and OT and Speech for that matter) complete notes and documentation for each session even if I or my wife are present and envolved the entire time. This documentation could be needed in the future for any number of reasons and it most certainly is the therapists job and responsibility!
“I forgot to sign this silly sheet”
Those are the words of someone who lacks accountability AND personal responsibility. I would not want that person in charge of my children either.
Go single Dad! Give it to ’em!
You know. I could never marry you because we’d be so simpatico about the idiots of the world and the letter-writing that there’d be no end to it. It would be just so exhausting —
And a Happy Chanukah to you, too, SD. (Harrumph!)
I’m with Sarah B. and the rest of you can spend the rest of the holidays bean-counting your child’s services. PT is not a pill and dosing it in minutes owed is sssoooo not the measure of value of the services. Have I ever made a documentation error? Let me count the ways…..
The importance of a note for the next professional is also blown out of proportion as just about every next pro will do whatever she sees fit and it will be remarkably similar to what would have been in a non-existent note.
If you are not sure why a particular event “makes your blood boil” I suggest (with the kindest of intentions) that you take a step back and cool down before firing off an email. – Like I just did and deleted about 200 words from this comment. I am, however, pretty good at disengaging from an email exchange like this one.
I would hardly call it bean counting. Documentation is the expectation and the norm for ALL medical and theraputic services and it most certainly is the job and responsibility of the therapist but I don’t think that comes close to the part of this that would have me enraged.
It can be a strong word.
It can be a dismissive word.
Things that are silly or deemed as such are seldom taken seriously. Apparently fulfilling the established expectation of daily sign-offs is just not important enough for B.
Whether or not the therapist is 100% on top of initialing every form, mistakes do happen, things get forgotten, but to dismiss those errors as irrelevant or unimportant is not only rude but irresponsible.
Good for you SD. As you mentioned, it’s amazing how much fuel they seem to give you.
Yikes, Barbara. We’re not bean-counters out here. What we are is parents of children who cannot under any circumstances advocate for themselves, namely because they are nonverbal. The “paperwork” is not just counting beans but the beans themselves — and I think Single Dad, however hyper-vigilant or even offensive in his manner is absolutely correct to insist that the PT sign in and account for whether or not she’s done her job. How hard, how demeaning could that possibly be? I think the “silly paper” is perhaps emblematic of the whole situation, anyway, no? Emblematic of the frustrating issues that parents of severely disabled, non-verbal children face 24 hours a day, seven days a week in perpetuity. Not only do I think Single Dad deserves a fucking break, I’d go so far as to say that he quite nicely, Jack Nicholson-style in “Five Easy Pieces” makes his point with the emails. There’s nothing more satisfying, I wager, than shaking up the bureaucratic status quo.
Yeah, what Elizabeth said, both times.
She said all the things I would have.I swear,those words are there in my head, or some variation of them, but I just can’t get them out as eloquently and concise and to the point, as she. That is why I love that girl and so glad she has decided to hang around with riff-raff like me.
“Don’t people ever learn not to hand me fuel?” I am going to use this one someday. Another quote I’d like to borrow from you. Still haven’t gotten around to using the other, but I will.
I am a PTA, and I’m about to disagree with Barbara. We have a rule: if it’s not documented, it didn’t happen. This applies to reimbursement, defense in malpractice suits, etc. It is absolutely part of the therapist’s responsibility, even in a situation in which the patient can communicate and advocate for him/herself.
As for “any professional doing what they see fit,” isn’t that exactly how Pearlsky ended up being fed a (dangerous and unnecessary) blended diet for YEARS without her father’s knowledge or consent?
That is an excellent point, Lila. I really hope this woman is going to take the “silly” documentation of Pearlsky’s pt seriously from now on. Not just so she doesn’t get in trouble, but so Pearlsky, the human being gets the best possible care she can. All people responsible for her care need to understand how important proper documentation is for her well-being.
I love the way S.Dad advocates for his kids. We all can learn something here.
When I was young my mother advised me to never put anything in writing that I might regret later. B. should be aware of this maxim if she hopes to remain employed as a physical therapist or in any other capacity that involves interaction with the public beyond asking whether they want fries with their burgers.
Yes, your remark about her forgetfulness possibly resulting from having suffered a stroke was snarky, but a professional should have had enough sense to restrain herself from firing back (in writing!) with more snarkiness.
She was already worried about getting “in trouble” so why shoot herself in the foot with written evidence of her bad attitude?
I am aghast, once again, at the level of arrogance and incompetence you have to deal with as Pearlsky’s dad. People who should know better keep proving that they view your daughter as less than human and undeserving of the simplest acts of care an compassion.
I don’t know how you keep from bitch slapping the lot of them.
BTW, I can’t see how being asked to sign in and out of one’s work or to account for one’s time spent working can be perceived as demeaning.
I am a lawyer who bills at $475 an hour. I am required to account for every minute of time spent working and I do so willingly out of respect for my clients and my profession.
Even if someone is not motivated by fairness and appreciation for details, even if someone is motivated by the fear of some bastard trying to point out their neglect of signing the “stupid paper” in order to get them in trouble (equal parts guilt and paranoia) I’d say it would be in their best interest to be sure to sign said stupid paper in the future and apologize to S.D.
Believe me, S.D. is not someone to be messed with.
If the PT had to sign this “silly sheet” in order to get paid, do you think she would forget?
Indeed, Wendy. Which is why the ‘battle’ falls to minutiae documentation for both parents and the school district. Similar problems exist in medical care perceived as free in the so-called healthcare insurance arena. The reasons to provide and validate service provision are overwhelmed by non-sensical regulation. Something I thought about but didn’t recommend in my last post is: trying to control school personnel from a distance, via email or nanny-cam is unlikely to give satisfying results. Some other measure of satisfaction needs to be found/agreed upon by all parties. Not easy (an understatement) and certainly fraught with emotions.
Looking at the email-method for controlling school personnel like a treatment method – was it effective? I suspect yes for correcting a documentation error but also for reducing the relationship between therapist and parent. Was it effective for taking care of Pearlsky? I suggest it was counterproductive to Pearlsky’s care and reinforced a mindset of getting what is owed over is the PT’s time with her meaningful.
Looking back now and after the sweet comments of some of the commenters above on my last post I’m making an active choice to believe the sweet comments over the ones above.