The traditional modes of offering physical therapy services were limited to either a hospital setting, or perhaps an independent physical therapy office. While some home-health agencies offered PT services to homebound patients covered by Medicare, legal restrictions limited independent PTs from offering home services to patients being seen by a home-health care agency. One of the latest trends however, is for physical therapists to take their services directly to other patients, who do not meet Medicare's criteria for the homebound. As it turns out, there are key advantages both to patients and physical therapists who participate in these types of home visits.
Advantages to the Patient
Even though a person may not be covered under Medicare, anyone who needs physical therapy oftentimes is recovering from a health issue that makes it difficult to travel to a hospital or PT office setting. With home visits, patients reduce the risk of falling or slipping outside the home while trying to navigate to a traditional PT office. During a home visit, patients can also show a therapist particular areas around the home that may present challenges to them during their recovery, and enlist suggestions on how to meet those challenges.
Another advantage -- for patients who need physical therapy but are still able to work while recovering, home PT visits may reduce the time they need to take off from work since home PT visits eliminate travel time for them.
Advantages to the Therapist
By visiting within the home environment, a physical therapist can offer more targeted care for each individual patient. The physical therapist can point out safety hazards in the home such as rugs, slippery floors, or high thresholds, and then offer solutions that will reduce the risk of further injury. A physical therapist can also offer more targeted rehab care by using what the patient already has in their home (chairs, exercise rooms, doorways, etc.) to create an exercise program the patient can easily do at home. This avoids placing the burden on the patient to find substitutes at home for exercises performed in a state-of-the-art office therapy environment.
Lastly, some physical therapists prefer to focus on providing actual physical therapy to their patients, which they can do in a home environment, without the worry and overhead of running a traditional physical therapy office.
If you would like to know more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.
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