8 GREAT productivity tips for occupational therapists that work in SNFs. | SeniorsFlourish.com #geriatricOT #OT #occupationaltherapy

8 Productivity Tips for Occupational Therapists Working in SNFs

Mandy Chamberlain MOTR/L Education & Tips for Independent Living 10 Comments

Productivity. Ugh. I almost don't even want to say the word out loud...

In all actuality, I feel it shouldn't be called "productive," it should be called what it really is: "billable." We are ALL as efficient as we can be in skilled nursing facilities, as there are so many extra things that we do to provide excellent patient care that facilities can't get paid for - talking to co-workers and support staff, calling physicians, hunting down patients around the building, waiting for medications to be administered, reviewing charts, completing screens, attending department meetings, making copies of handouts, etc, etc and the list goes on. Some great productivity tips for occupational therapists that work in SNFs. | SeniorsFlourish.com #geriatricOT #OT #occupationaltherapy

This article is not about how I feel about the demands of productivity standards, but about how we can be the most productive (billable) in our work environments.

It is many OT's reality - right now...today... and I want to help give some tips to deal with the cards we have been dealt so we can both provide amazing skilled occupational therapy services to our patients and meet the demands of our employers.

I also know that all of these tips won't work for every OT in every SNF setting, but hopefully you can take away some ideas that you can integrate into your day and make things a little easier.

1. Stay on Track

When we get behind on our first patient of the day, it causes a domino effect, making us behind for the rest of the day.

Tip: One way to help with this is to figure out tentatively how long you are spending with the patient and set an alarm on your watch 10 minutes before the end of your treatment session so you know when it is time to wrap things up.

2. Point of Service Documentation

I say as an occupational therapist, documenting during our treatment session is more challenging than other professions as we are so hands-on, but if possible, document a little bit at a time throughout your treatment session if possible.

Tip: If you feel rude, tell your patient exactly what you are doing and why. Example: "I don't want to forget this, so I am going to write this down right now." Most patients understand this.

3. Using Dictation When Possible

If you are using an iPad for documentation, use the dictation feature when completing your daily soap note. It is  definitely faster than finger typing everything out on an iPad.

One way to increase productivity in a SNF is to use the dictation feature on your ipad if this is how you document | SeniorsFlourish.com #geriatricOT #OT #occupationaltherapy

4. Invest in an Attachable Keyboard

If you use an iPad for documentation, an attachable keyboard definitely speeds things up and is much more efficient than finger typing your entire weekly note.

5. Plan Ahead

Some great productivity tips for occupational therapists that work in SNFs. | SeniorsFlourish.com #geriatricOT #OT #occupationaltherapy

If you are fortunate enough to know who is on your caseload and know who you are going to be seeing each day, on your way to work, think about what you will be working on with your patients for the day.

Tip: If you know what you are going to be doing, you can make copies, dig out games and figure out any other supplies that you will need. This way you can get them ready or at least know where things are when you are going to need them!

6. Set Up Appointments

Set up appointment times with patients for the week or even just for the next day. They may be able to come down to the therapy department at the designated time or even be up and ready to work in their room for ADL training.

Tip: Doctor appointments, outings, family visits, bingo and MORE fill up a patient's week. Post a Weekly Schedule Form in a patient's room or closet so you can see what their week looks like. Click here for an example of one I created with Sarah from OT Potential.

7. Don't Document More Than Necessary

If you have a weekly note due today, you don't have to write a daily note as well. Accurate documentation is necessary, but over documenting is time consuming.

8. Don't Reinvent the Wheel

Use tactics, experience, forms, handouts, etc that co-workers have used and found to be tried and true to work in your facility. Ask around, see what they use and do.

Leave a Comment - I'd love to hear what tips you have used to be more productive.

For more information, check out: Dealing with Productivity Standards: Resources for Ethical Practice from AOTA

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Comments 10

  1. Mandy…Good tips ! I have been a COTA for almost 24 years and really appreciate the fact that we are all in this together. Although.. hoping to part time or PRN soon…this was helpful…keep up the good work?

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  2. Making transport “active” and therapeutic , such as having the patient ambulate/propel self, way finding, providing a dependent patient with a sensory prop or positioning device during transport, review the previous session with the patient during transport or provide some other education if possible.

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  3. I’ve been working on this since my yearly review in June. I’ve been writing down everything I do just to see where I’ve been “eating” my productivity minutes. It has been a challenge but I’m learning a ton about where my minutes go. I’ve been “reviewing” the treatment session during the last 5 minutes with my patients and been using that time to finish up my note with my patient. I do try to get some of it started during the session but I fail with those folks who require more assist. Also, I have, have, have to take a laptop into the room when I do an initial evaluation or I’m in trouble. Sometimes I don’t get it all done before the social worker or dietary manager or someone else wants the patient. The eval has to get done so I can hand the treatment off to a COTA the next day. Any suggestions?? I also lose minutes when I have to work on paperwork for people who have discharged to the hospital, when I’m updating a plan of care for a patient I only see for supervisory visits – I usually get only 15 minutes with those folks and I’m just not fast enough.

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