Six benefits of home health physical therapy

Caring for communities

Home health physical therapy is a key component in improving older adults’ quality of life and maintaining independence. 

As we age, it’s common to lose muscle and bone mass, which can make everyday tasks like walking, climbing stairs or standing up from a chair more difficult. For home health patients, physical therapy helps older adults increase mobility and strength so they can focus on enjoying the activities they love.

“There is great personal reward and joy in knowing that I have a role in seeing a patient’s quality of life and function resorted,” said Diana McCalester, PT, DPT at Enhabit Home Health & Hospice. “However, what I love the most is the special connection with the patient. The therapeutic relationship between a patient and therapist involves the therapist’s ability to remain within a patient’s frame of reference, understand their feelings and show attentive concern.  This combination of skill and empathy is the center of our profession.”

Learn more about the benefits of home health physical therapy below.

1. Accessibility

To qualify for home health, your physician must certify that you are homebound. This means that you have trouble leaving your home without the help of another person or without the help of assistive devices like a wheelchair or cane. Being homebound can make it difficult to go to a doctor’s office or clinic to receive care.

“With home health, our clinicians provide care wherever you call home,” McCalester said. “We’re able to provide physical therapy services in our patients’ most comfortable environment, which alleviates the need for them to leave their house or community, and allows them to receive care on their terms.”

2. One-on-one care

The care that a home health physical therapist provides is highly personalized and focuses on meeting the patient’s specific health care goals.

“Our physical therapists can see your home environment and help you navigate the unique challenges that you face inside,” McCalester said. “During visits, our physical therapists are solely focused on you, which is different than a clinic or hospital setting where you may have multiple other patients in the facility at one time.” 

3. Manage pain

It’s important to recognize that medication is not the only option available to treat pain. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, improving mobility can help greatly with long-term pain management.

Home health physical therapists can work with patients to introduce small movements and exercises to strengthen joints, helping to alleviate muscle strain, increase mobility and reduce pain. Home health physical therapists can also recommend the use of adaptive devices, such as a walker or cane, to help alleviate some common causes of pain.

4. Fall prevention

The risk of falls can increase as we age for a variety of reasons: a loss in muscle mass, living with chronic conditions and even certain medications. Home health physical therapists can provide exercises that help improve your strength and balance, reducing the risk of falls.

There are also many factors within the home, such as loose rugs, cluttered floors or low hanging cords, that can increase the risk of falls. Home health physical therapists work with you to identify the fall risks in your home and offer solutions to improve your home environment to reduce these risks.

5. Education

Patient education is a critical component of home health care. Home health physical therapists will work closely with you to help you understand your treatment, guide you through exercises and provide helpful tips on how to self-manage your rehabilitation.  

“In home health, we not only help patients regain function, we also help them gain new abilities and provide education on steps to maintain those abilities,” McCalester said. “At Enhabit, one of our main goals it to empower home health patients to play an active role in their health care journey. Whether that’s recovering from a recent surgery or managing a chronic condition, we offer the tools and resources you need to have the best possible outcome.”

6. Regain independence

No matter what your specific health care goals are, home health physical therapy care teams strive to help patients regain their independence and stay in their homes longer. Through personalized care, home health physical therapists and physical therapy assistants help create a safe environment and give you the resources you need to maintain your independence and improve quality of life.   

If you think you would benefit from home health physical therapy, talk to your physician about getting a referral. To learn more about Enhabit’s home health services, click here.

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