Many seniors will experience long illness, surgery or even age-related pain that limits mobility or movement. In some cases, like stroke or hip replacement, an elderly individual may need support with walking or learning to reuse limbs.
Each of these situations generally requires physical therapy, which will be prescribed by a doctor or specialist. Some elderly patients may receive this care in a short-term nursing facility. Others may be able to receive this care at home. Where the person receives the care is largely up to their overall care plan and where the care team believes the individual will get the best results.
In-home physical therapy can be a great solution for seniors, with some studies showing faster improvement and better compliance with treatment and exercises done at home. Plus, being surrounded by the comforts of home and familiar surroundings can help to boost spirits and keep seniors in a positive mood, which is essential for long term healing and improvement.
What Does an In-Home Physical Therapist Do?
In-home physical therapists help individuals improve movement and manage pain. They are often responsible for both rehabilitation and restoration to mobility as well as prevention for further injury or pain.
A physical therapist develops individualized plans for patients that could include stretching, exercises, hands-on adjustments or maneuvers and strategies for continuous improvement or prevention of further injury. They may also recommend and help train patients on functional supports like walkers or wheelchairs. Some physical therapists practice a specialty, like rehabilitating sports injuries or geriatric physical therapy and many can give care in a hospital room, nursing facility or patient’s home.
Benefits of In-Home Physical Therapy for Seniors
Physical therapy can mean the difference between restoring mobility and independence after an illness or surgery and not. It can also be a huge relief from symptoms of arthritis or back pain. Helping with these improvements can support a senior feeling greater freedom with their movements. It can even help improve mobility to the point where independence or near-independence is possible again.
In-home physical therapy, in particular, allows seniors and the elderly to feel the comfort of familiar surroundings and even friends, family and pets. Many physicians and physical therapists say a positive attitude is a large part of a patient’s overall success in therapy, and being at home can help. Plus, seniors can learn new strategies for navigating their home in real-time with their sessions, rather than needing to “re-learn” once they return home from the hospital or nursing facility.
What to Expect from In-Home Physical Therapy for Seniors
First, the physical therapist will develop a treatment plan. This plan is often created in conjunction with the patient’s care team and may also involve the help of a social worker or home health occupational therapy.
Next, the physical therapist will visit at regular intervals (which will vary depending on the patient’s need and treatment plan) and work with the patient through a series of exercises, stretches or other methods. The physical therapist may prescribe “homework” or exercises and stretches the patient must complete each day or in between sessions. Sometimes a home health aide or other caregiver may need to help or support the patient with these exercises.
The in-home physical therapist will continually evaluate the patient’s progress and adjust the treatment plan as needed. Full compliance with the treatment plan (e.g. completing exercises in between sessions as directed) will help a patient achieve results within the therapist’s estimated time frame. Patients who have trouble with their exercises or don’t comply consistently may not see optimal results.
Physical therapists may also work closely with an occupational therapist to develop new strategies for navigating and completing daily tasks like eating, grooming or getting in and out of bed.
In-Home Physical Therapy for Seniors in Akron, Ohio
My Family Home Health Care in Akron, Ohio offers in-home health physical therapy for seniors and elderly. Our goal is for seniors to remain at home for as long as possible and retain their independence. Contact us today for an assessment and let My Family take care of your family.