RehabVisions

Former Patient Helps to Remind Therapists of Their Effects

In our stressed world with staffing challenges, mask-wearing and COVID outbreaks, it’s hard to remember how much difference we still make in the lives of our patients. Sometimes all it takes is listening. 

I was reminded of that this week as we celebrated the long career of one of our rehab directors. Jean Herauf, SLP has been with RehabVisions for 27 years and will retire in December. At a gathering to commemorate her retirement, the wife of a former patient spoke about the difference Jean had made in the lives of her entire family. Her husband had suffered a traumatic brain injury and although the wife said she never lamented the injury or felt sorry for their situation, she had many questions and wondered how life would be. “And finally, Jean gave me the answers I needed,” she said. She spoke about how Jean worked with her husband to regain the skills he lost in this accident, but she also took the time to explain the nature of brain injuries and the process of speech rehabilitation to the family. “She was like the guardian angel we needed,” she said. 

The next day I met with our staff at CHI St. Alexius, who had all been at Jean’s party. Rehab Director Brett Hample, PT said hearing the woman speak about the effect Jean had on her family helped him “reset” his attitude. “Sometimes we need to be reminded why we do what we do,” he said. “It was good to remember that we make a big difference.”

Mitzi Yanish, PTA echoed Brett’s assessment and said, “Yes, never take your knowledge for granted. Even when we feel like we’re doing the same things over and over, we’re making tremendous progress for our patients.” 

I’m always proud of our therapists but at this moment I felt particular admiration. How smart they were to internalize this testimonial about Jean to remember therapy’s greater effects. How wise of them not to wallow in their own self-pity and realize that although we are in a particularly difficult time in our lives, there is progress and appreciation abounds.

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