How home health helps patient regain mobility

Caring for communities

“We weren’t sure if he could ever walk again,” Barbara said as she recalled her husband’s home health care journey.

Joe had been bedbound for nearly two years. After previous hospital stays and failed physical therapy attempts, he lost mobility in his legs and never thought he’d be able to get it back. That is, until he met the Enhabit Home Health & Hospice team.

Starting home health to regain mobility

Joe and Barbara had one goal when they started home health care. They only wanted Joe to be able to get out of bed and into a wheelchair so he could sit outside on the porch.

When the Enhabit team came to start Joe’s care, he could only roll over on one side. But slowly, and with each team member’s help, Joe progressed.

They started with trimming his toenails to get them in standing shape. Then, the physical therapist began working on bed exercises to help build Joe’s core strength. Alongside the physical therapist, the occupational therapist also worked with Joe on his ability to put on and take off clothing and strengthen balance by the bedside.

The speech therapist also played a part, working on his short-term memory abilities so that Joe could remember things he was taught.

“Reinforcement and repeating back education are critical to all disciplines, and especially for this patient’s goal of safely transferring to the wheelchair,” an Enhabit clinician on Joe’s care team said.

Lastly, the medical social worker connected Barbara and Joe to organizations to obtain community resources for quality of life and safety at home. And just like that, Joe was surrounded by different disciplines of home health care, all working together to help him achieve his goal.

Home health goals continue to progress

Months passed and the team kept collaborating. It soon became clear that Joe was making real progress.

“Joe started doing his bed exercises every single day,” Barbara said. “Then, he was able to sit up at the side of the bed. Then, they got him to stand up and do marching in place. Each thing that he did took some time but he got stronger and stronger.”

And as Joe became more independent, Barbara was able to relax a bit and enjoy time to herself. Gone were the days of having to do everything for Joe. He could now put his shoes on himself and complete his exercises on his own.

“Once Joe was able to do more himself and become more independent, it kind of gave me a break,” Barbara said. “It is such a big help because I was doing everything for him before.”

Joe and Barbara kept reaching goals they never thought of in the first place. With the progress being made, the Enhabit team decided he could go further.

“Joe and Barbara were doing everything we asked them to do to improve their quality of life,” an Enhabit clinician on Joe’s care team said. “As Joe’s goals were met, bigger goals were made. The team all felt Joe was an excellent candidate for getting out of bed and walking. His diagnosis of weakness just wasn’t enough for the team. And as each small goal was achieved, Joe and Barbara began to believe walking was a possibility.”

Regaining mobility with home health care

Joe worked hard to meet his goals and although it wasn’t always quick or easy, his hard work, and Barbara’s support, paid off in the long run.

Months after beginning home health care, Joe reached a goal he thought was impossible – he walked again. And as he stepped outside on his own for the first time in years, he couldn’t help but grin and take it all in.

Patient Joe stands with a walker and smiles outside his home as home health helped him regain his mobility and be able to walk again

“Look at Joe’s smile,” an Enhabit clinician from Joe’s care team said. “He and his wife didn’t ever think it was possible for him to walk again after 24 months in bed. Now, he is progressing toward an improved quality of life.”

Since his major accomplishment, Joe and Barbara have been able to get out more and enjoy life.

“We have been going outside and we even got to go out for his birthday last August,” Barbara said. “It was so great to get out and we really enjoyed our lunch.”

Both extroverts by nature, Barbara said they plan to get out way more now as they prepare to move into an active 55+ community.

“We are both very sociable people so being stuck at home has been hard to do, and every time an Enhabit clinician came by, we talked their ears off,” she said.

High-quality home health care, increased quality of life

Part of an interdisciplinary care team, each person on the home health team played a role in helping Joe achieve his goals.

“Nursing, therapy, speech and social work all had to work together with Joe to push for his goals and communicate,” a clinician from Joe’s care team said. “We wanted to ensure this patient has the quality of life he wants and the independence Barbara needs to properly care for him.”

According to Barbara, Joe’s home health care has been a journey. But they are very happy with Joe’s results and are looking forward to continuing to get stronger.

“I am so happy with Enhabit,” Barbara said. “They are absolutely the best. Every person that helped us is so dedicated and they encouraged Joe. They were great motivators. Joe is a new person now.”

Joe’s appreciation extends just as far as Barbara’s as he gets used to a better quality of life and more time spent outside, taking in the sunshine and fresh air.

“I appreciate everything they have done for me and if it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I could walk again,” Joe said. “I thank them a lot.”

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