Every geographic region poses its own unique challenges to providing home-care rehabilitation therapy, from accessing rural and remote areas to navigating traffic conditions that slow us down. This article explores how some rehab therapy companies are taking on the challenge of providing home visits in New York City.
Travel Challenges in NYC Home-Care Rehabilitation Therapy
For as many conveniences as New York City offers home-care rehab therapists, the city likewise doles out its obstacles. While home-care patients may be clustered in the same neighborhood or an adjacent one, a quick two-stop train ride may still be in order. Fortunately, New York City bears one of the most convenient public transportation systems across the U.S., but its population density (aka overcrowding) can turn what would be a minute train ride into something several times longer.
Even without rush hour traffic conditions on the subway, or even the bus, there is yet the issue of delays or inclement weather to slow down our travel. Where walking is an option, harsh weather conditions can still damper our efforts to be time efficient throughout the day.
The challenge of optimal time management when traveling between patient homes is further compounded when working outside of Manhattan where residential neighborhoods can be much more spread out. This landscape requires therapists to span longer distances from one appointment to the next. As is the case with utilizing subways and buses in the more compact grid of Manhattan, these transportation modes in other boroughs are subject to the same weather and schedule delays. What makes intra-borough travel unique for home care therapists outside of Manhattan is the option (and more often the necessity) to drive. Yet, again, a growing population all across New York City poses an obstacle, now making traffic and parking inescapable concerns for home-care therapists who drive.
At the end of the day, all the time allocated to travel, and that may have been lost to delays, take away from the minutes needed to document, make phone calls, answer emails, and tend to all other patient-care tasks. Undoubtedly, home care therapists devise their own clever ways to juggle everything on the go and willingly accept travel as part of the job, though it definitely remains one of its more challenging aspects.
Innovative Answers to Home-Care Rehab Obstacles
While no quick solution exists to circumvent travel obstacles for home care therapists, some rehab therapy companies that provide in-home visits throughout New York City have looked to one of the city’s most-utilized driver transportation services for an answer: Uber.
Within the last year, some companies have utilized an Uber driver to provide travel between patient homes. This eliminates for therapists time needed to drive, navigate traffic, and search for parking. With a driver, therapists are free to utilize travel time for documentation or other necessary patient-care-related tasks. With parking needs eliminated, therapists can also reach their patients much sooner and begin their treatment sessions without delays.
[Read also: The Importance of Person-Centered Rehabilitation]
Having worked in home care myself for a number of years, I can attest to its demands for productivity and efficiency in the face of variables naturally detracting from those goals (those variables include trudging through snow, walking through busy crowds and windy rain, and being unable to make phone calls on noisy streets). While being held up by a delayed train might give me a few extra minutes to finish a note or write an email, it can still negatively impact my schedule somewhere else down the line.
The Uber answer is certainly a creative solution to some of these major logistical challenges for home-care therapists and resourcefully makes use of advances in modern transportation. I have yet to provide home care in an area of New York City requiring a car though I can easily imagine I’d much rather prefer having an Uber driver over my own car to get me from patient to patient.
Regardless of setting, all therapists need time for all non-direct care responsibilities, but this often seems uniquely true for therapists in home care where finding opportunities to squeeze in a few items from the to-do list can escape you while constantly on the move. Time will tell how helpful Uber can be to the rehab community but so far it seems like an innovative approach with potential to improve delivery of rehab services in the home setting.