When I was in middle school math class, my teacher happened to be my best friend’s dad and was a great mentor to me. He taught us one day the importance of setting specific goals with specific time frames, writing them down and working toward them. That concept really clicked with me, and I have been doing it ever since. Now, the point at which my job (occupational therapist) and my husband’s job (healthcare reimbursement) meet is in the process of setting specific, measurable goals for my patients that must be met in a specific amount of time in order to be reimbursed for the services provided. On Jian’s first day of intensive therapy 3 weeks ago, we set specific goals for her and a pre-test was done. Today, a post-test was done to evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment in reaching those goals. Here were some of the results:
- Jian is now agreeable to wearing inserts in both shoes which provide support and protect her joints.
- She can walk all over the place wearing a weighted backpack.
- She can carry a bulky item in one hand while walking across the room with a cane.
- She stands and uses a handrail to walk up and down stairs beautifully.
- She has much more confidence walking in front of others.
- She has begun the process of being able to get out of the car and walk into an appointment without someone walking in with her.
- She has the physical ability to walk community distances (mall, grocery store) now.
- The distance she walked today in 6 minutes vs. 3 weeks ago increased by almost 50%!
- The speed she walked today for short distances increased by30% vs. 3 weeks ago!
When he was finished reviewing everything with me, her therapist’s response was, “We typically just do not see THIS level of progress.”
I couldn’t be more pleased, and she is so proud of herself. We have ordered her a set of cool blue crutches that we are going to encourage her to use for now so that she can be fast and independent with walking anywhere she wants. This is going to be a process and take time. She is still not ok with bringing the crutches home or using them in public. If you see her with them and if you are close to her and typically joke around with her, it may be good to emphasize how great she is walking and that she can walk all by herself without holding someone’s hand and maybe even joke and ask if you can try out the crutches. Just follow her lead.
The day that I can drive through carpool, have her grab her crutches, put on her backpack and walk into the school confidently and independently will be another day of celebration. The time table I am putting on this goal is within the upcoming school year!