Physical therapy often plays a critical role in home health. Before National Physical Therapy Month comes to an end, we’d like to thank all the physical therapists who spend countless hours helping to improve the quality of life of America’s home health patients.
According to the Physical Therapy Association, physical therapy home care may be provided in the patient’s residence, the caregiver’s home, a hospital emergency room, skilled nursing facility, residential facility, group home, hospice, or elsewhere in the community. While the majority of patients are senior citizens, there also are pediatric patients with developmental disabilities and other conditions, and individuals of all ages who need rehabilitation because of injury or other causes.
Patients/clients and physicians are demanding the talents of physical therapists for management of a wide variety of conditions. In many cases, patients are being sent to physical therapy instead of surgery, and they highly value the individualized, “hands on” approach that characterizes physical therapist care. When a physical therapist sees a patient/client for the first time, he or she examines that individual and develops a plan of care that promotes the ability to move, reduces pain, restores function, and prevents disability. The physical therapist and the patient/client then work side-by-side to make sure that the goals of the plan or care are met.
Therapeutic exercise and functional training are the cornerstones of physical therapist treatment. Depending on the particular needs of a patient/client, physical therapists may “manipulate” a joint (that is, perform certain types of passive movements at the end of the individual’s range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function. Physical therapists may use other techniques such as electrotherapy, ultrasound (high-frequency waves that produce heat), hot packs, and ice in addition to other treatments when appropriate. Physical therapists also will work with individuals to prevent loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.
For more information, check out the Physical Therapy category on The Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) blog: A Day in the Life.