Is it bad if me and my geriatric patients have the same underwear?

(Updated April 2015) I wrote this post in 2009 while doing my final fieldwork rotation, in mental health, working in a locked geriatric psychiatry ward.  It’s extremely informal/just processing the day. As I read it now I cringe a little at the informality, but at the same time, it’s depicting what was going through my head at the time. I could jargonize-it all up so you would understand why I was legitimately doing what I was doing, make it sound super professional, but it wasn’t my intention at the time…just blabbering. Thinking about doing an “after” post though, using OTPF terminology, so you can see the difference between work that seems unskilled, to work that seems skilled!


Today I got 19 units…so only one off from the 20 I’m supposed to have as a minimum [productivity units]. With the census low it can be difficult.

Have any of y’all heard private parts referred to as “possibles” among older generation?

I did groups today….all but one of my patients (so 4/5), plus two nursing students observing the unit for the morning, plus an extra aide doing a 1:1 with a particular patient. I always make everyone in the room participate some (ie not just patients). The first one was just a typical group, the second one was on exercise but it was extra fun because when did the actual exercise part we did a lot of silly moves like hula moves, hula hoop moves, etc…then we did the entire alphabet with our arms…like YMCA style, but from A-Z….on a lot of them we just had to do whatever we could think of, cuz who can really do a K??? lol. There was a lot of laughter and silliness, it was fun. 🙂 The nursing students afterward let me know they enjoyed it. 🙂

Oh! And after group, one of our patients who used to sing, sang us all a beautiful song. It was wonderful. 🙂 Before that, we had a singer and a chaplain who likes to sing…I get NO productivity during those times because I won’t take patients out of the only truly fun experience they’ll probably have that day so unless a patient refuses to join the group, I do other stuff.

I did a session on discharge planning…ie what to be prepared for after discharge in terms of having support systems in place, leisure activities and/or goals prepped, keeping doctor appts/taking medicines until told to stop [ so many behavioral patients start feeling better and think Oh, I’m cured, I can stop taking my meds!]…stuff like that.

Did a shower…some other grooming/random ADLs….oh…I’ve gotten better at handling intimate moments without even thinking about it…a few days ago I had to adjust a lady’s urinary incontinence pad while it was already in her underwear that she was wearing  – long story as to why but believe me it was justified – so I literally had to put my (gloved) hand into her underwear, with her permission of course, because the alternative would have been much more fatiguing for the patient. Nine months ago I would have been like WHAT?!!!!!!!! Adjusting breasts? Sticking my hand in underwear? Oh hell no. But you really do get used to it.

Three highlights of my day!!!

1) One of the nurses (who I have spent a lot of time with the last few months) doing “checks” to keep tabs on all the patients, popped her head in a room where I was standing next to a patient, guiding her to go through clothes in prep for bathing. She smiled and said “You are such a good OT, you need a raise…”

2) A patient who I had spent a lot of time with today, most of it not billable, had started slightly frustrating me because she is slow and since the time wasn’t billable [cuz it was stuff like walking her to the phone, listening to her talk about something, etc], I was a little like augh! But I hid it because I knew she needed it. And it paid off because she told me at the end of the day, “Thank you for talking to me. It helps. It’s like it’s a glowing light”  or something along those lines about light, lol. So it validated it all to me.

3) Helping a lady with grooming, adult daughter present. Lady told her daughter I was her favorite, daughter said I was kind and patient, blah blah blah…very nice!!!

These little things mean a lot to me. I spend pockets of time EVERY SINGLE DAY doubting my skills, wondering if I’m too easy on patients, wondering if I’m accomplishing real goals, wondering if I’m too nice about non-billable time/productivity by not hurrying things too much, etc etc. But then I tell myself that even with all those issues, if I give the patients a sense of control, or give them a few extra minutes, or give them a laugh…that’s good too. It’s still important. So I may not get the best productivity, but I’m still being helpful!!!! In a way that the techs/nurses don’t have the luxury of being, most of the time…they’ve got to go go go.

Oh….me and one of my patients..(GERIATRIC)….have the same pair of underwear from Victoria’s Secret!!!!!!!!!!!! I was cueing her as she prepared her clothes and I excitedly exclaimed, “Hey! I have that same pair!” [completely normal pair of underwear that has a heart pattern, nothing risque]. She said, “That’s how I will always remember you.” AHAHAHHAHAA


Mar 07, 2009 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: 1