Importance of Home Health in the Physical Therapy Health Industry
A Physical therapist is a medical professional who deals with musculoskeletal, neurological, cardiopulmonary, and integumentary diseases and disorders. A Physical therapist uses procedures such as therapeutic modalities, exercise, joint, and muscle manipulation and mobilization in treating such disorders. The practice of providing Home health Physical therapy service has greatly increased the past decade– According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and Bureau of Labor Statistics– Home Health PT employment would likely increase from 2014-2024 for both Physical therapists and Physical therapy assistants.
Role of Home Health
Home Health PT is an important aspect of a patient’s rehabilitation and serves as a link from a patient’s primary hospice care to outpatient care. Patients who suffer
The main reason why Home Health PT exists is the fact that most patients are unable to travel to the clinic for continuing care. This could be due to reasons such as (1) Inability for a patient to independently maneuver around their home and travel to a clinic, (2) Extra costs of travel, (3) geographic locations of either the patient’s home or PT clinic. A study conducted by Russell D stressed the importance of continuity of PT intervention even after primary care has been given to improve overall outcomes and prognosis of patients concluding that: ” Continuity in the patient-provider relationship is an important determinant of outcomes of patients.”
The main objective of the Physical therapist in the home health setting is to assist the patient in regaining independence at home. A treatment program starts with an initial evaluation to assess the patient’s difficulties and impairments. The program must include safe and effective strategies to improve bed mobility, transfer, and gait exercises to improve activities of daily living (ADL) such as feeding and bathing, initial compensatory strategies to improve quality of movement and environment (furniture placing, furniture height adjustments) modifications. If the patient is unable to travel due to geographic reasons or lack of transportation– then it is the obligation of the therapist to provide the same quality of healthcare at the patient’s home. This will require a high level of resourcefulness and creativity in order to meet the treatment goals of the patient and healthcare demands.
Pro’s and Con’s in working as a Home Health PT
1. Higher Pay
Home health brings quality healthcare to the comfort of patients home. As a home health care provider, you are not only paid for your professional service but also for the time traveling to and from the patient’s home.
2. Your Own Schedule
The ability to schedule your own work time is one of the biggest advantages when working in Home health. The freedom of choosing days to see patients is one of the things that attract therapists to this field. Home health may also be a side gig for therapists working in private clinics or as educators in universities and colleges.
3. Opportunity for Travel
4. Practice Resourcefulness
With the limited equipment you are to bring, the therapist is forced to use alternative ways in order to progress treatment and improve the patient’s outcomes. Eg. A patient who just learned how to stand by himself needs ambulation training in parallel bars. The therapist may use railings in the patients home or a walker with maximum guarding to initiate walking.
5. Improve Functionality at Home
1. Higher Risks
Home Health is sometimes described as a “riskier” aspect of the profession mainly due to the dangers of travel lack of resources. Being on the road means exposing yourself to the dangers of automobile accidents and car breakdowns that will affect both your Personal health and professional obligations.
2. Limited Resources
Working outside the clinic means only bringing the essentials with you — this leads to a limit on what interventions you may give to the patient and possibly a decline in the quality of care you may bring. It is in the therapist’s discretion on how to improvise and how to be creative in these situations in order not to compromise the quality of health care.
3. Travel Time
Travel can be both hazardous and time-consuming, especially when at highly urbanized locations. Allocating travel time means fewer patients can be seen in a day which will affect revenues — not to mention gas or transportation expenses to keep your business running. A therapy session usually takes half an hour to two hours max adding travel time of at least 15-30 minutes (depending on traffic and time of the day) in between those sessions will maybe require you to re-adjust your client’s schedules in order to maximize efficiency
Should you join Home Health?
Home health care is not for everybody. Try to weigh in the Pros and Cons to figure out which practice is the best for you — clinic or home health. If you are a PT that enjoys travel, freedom of schedule and unique challenges, this may be the best field for you.