When a patient is referred to Home Care, it is often because he or she is unable to safely leave their home. It is a primary goal for most patients to maximize their ability to resume independent activities, often including access to the community. When this is the case, a physician provides a referral for a Physical Therapist to guide the patient in developing skills necessary for bed mobility, transfers and ambulation.
In a literal sense, Home Care is the provision of skilled services in the patient’s place of residence. The majority of patients are senior citizens, but individuals of all ages who need rehabilitation because of injury or other causes are also treated. Although commonly provided in the patient’s residence, rehabilitation may also take place in a caregivers’ home, community group home or assisted living facility.
An evaluation takes place on the first visit including an examination to identify current and potential problems. Based on the results, the physical therapist will design a plan of care in collaboration with the patient and caregivers. The Plan of Care addresses specific interventions within a time frame for achieving goals. Exercise is typically an important component of successful rehab, so the physical therapist routinely provides the patient or personal caregiver with home exercise instructions to facilitate faster recovery.
Health conditions commonly seen in home health physical therapy:
- Total joint replacements
- Neurological conditions
- Fall risk
- Chronic pain
- Heart Failure
- General debility
Skills used by a physical therapist in home health may include:
- Gait training
- Transfer training
- Home exercise program development
- Fall prevention
- Resistive exercise progression
- Pain management
- Adaptive equipment instruction and home modification
Occupational Therapy brings specialized knowledge that can enhance outcomes for particular patient conditions. Often working in conjunction with Physical Therapy, an Occupational Therapist (OT) focuses on the ability of the patient to interact with his or her environment through activities of daily living (ADL’s), educating the patient and caregiver on correct and safe methods for bed mobility, transfers, dressing, bathing and eating. An Occupational Therapist may address vision and sensory losses, identifying techniques and adaptations to the environment used for compensation of diminished senses. Positive strategies are developed for physical and mental changes that a patient may be presenting. An OT is skilled in working with upper extremity compromises as the result of fracture, surgery or neurological involvement such as a stroke. In addition, an Occupational Therapist is trained in bracing and wheelchair management.
Speech Therapy is a skilled profession that is utilized for the treatment of patients suffering from motor or neurological deficits. A Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) typically works in conjunction with a Physical Therapist and/or Occupational Therapist in a team approach to maximize patient outcome. In the home, a SLP identifies communication barriers that may interfere with the ability of a patient to successfully communicate. For example, an individual that has suffered a stroke may be experiencing phasia, altering his or her ability to express or understand. The Speech-Language Pathologist is highly trained in effective methods of enhancing communication skills. In addition, a SLP may work with an individual that has developed a problem with swallowing due to surgery or neurological disorder, helping the physician and family to determine when a change in diet can be safely incorporated to minimize the potential of choking and aspiration.
The future of health care is a serious concern for all of us. There are many unknowns, but our dedicated staff knows one thing for certain – we want our agency to be available in Kosciusko County for the next family who needs our help. Your generous gift will make that possible.