At one of my therapy sessions this week I was working with the therapy assistant, Tom. He works with patients in addition to the physical therapist only he does not create the exercise plans/treatments. He's been with the practice less than a year. Tom is sweet, kind, funny, patient to a fault and tries to make all his patients as comfortable as possible.
Here's what happened. One of the patients had her husband standing right next to her as she was being treated. This normally happens under very specific circumstances such as a child needing a parent near them during treatment, someone needing a translator or if someone with a mental health issue has an assistant who comes with them. Otherwise, family stays in the waiting area. This lady met none of these criteria.
Her husband kept offering to "help" Tom with her treatment by either holding items or adjusting things. Tom, very kindly, told him that his wife had to do the exercises the way her therapist had ordered them or they wouldn't work. At one point he started walking up to other patients (including me) and offering to get them water. When he asked me I said "If I need anything, I will ask Tom. Please step back so I can finish my exercises". He huffed a bit and left me alone. One of the therpists told him he had to leave other patients alone and to go back to his wife.
I could see Tom getting frustrated with this man, but he never said anything to him. One of the other therapists told Tom (after this couple left) "You have every right to tell him to go to the waiting area." Tom asked me what I thought he should do and I said "Tell him to go to the waiting area or get one of the therapists to help you if he refuses."
Is there anything else I could have Tom use to fortify his arsenal in dealing with problem people like this?