The Pros and Cons of Home Health Care for Patients with Mobility Issues and Specific Needs
Getting older is an inevitable part of a person’s life, but it’s not something that everyone is prepared to handle. As adults, you look forward to many things. Moving away from home, getting a job and taking care of yourself financially, finding a home to live in… all of it is well worth looking forward to.
Happiness and independence mean different things to different people. However, the truth of growing older is that in some cases, it won’t be possible for an individual to do all of the things that they want to do. This is commonly due to things like mobility issues or health concerns, especially as people age.
Fortunately, being ill or needing special care doesn’t always require trips to the hospital or an extended stay in a rehabilitation center. Today, doctors, nurses, and even physical therapists can visit the homes of their patients and provide high-quality care when (and if) it is needed.
As with every scenario in life, there are pros and cons of home health care. When choosing what is best for you or for your loved one, there is a lot to consider – and National Home Health Care Month is the perfect time to do so. Home health care doesn’t only apply to the elderly or aging. It’s perfect for people with acute or chronic injuries and illnesses, too. Another group that may benefit from home health care? Those living with disabilities.
Why home health care is necessary
When recovering from an injury or simply dealing with an aging body, keeping patients comfortable and feeling as capable as possible is essential. Home health care can be used to show people that they are still able to do things for themselves. It also shows that they are not going to be limited by their diagnosis entirely. Doctors and nurses come in and address health concerns and administer medications and other necessary care. But for many, it’s getting around comfortably, and safely that is the real issue. Mobility and living a pain-free life are two key components of physical therapy treatment.
Physical therapy professionals are trained and capable of helping patients and their loved ones learn more about the types of exercises they need to do.
Physical Therapists also help with making adjustments to accommodate changes in mobility and health. Working with a physical therapist in the home helps patients become more confident in their day to day activities. It also helps focus on the fact that what they are doing is based on a plan that was created specifically for them – not for patients in general.
Examples of home exercise recommended by PT professionals
Foam rolling: This activity uses one piece of equipment, but it can be done just about anywhere. It focuses on building strength and stamina, as well as improving muscle tone and balance.
Kinesiotape: Also called PT tape, this is useful for athletes and those with weak joints. It’s commonly used on the knees, elbows, arms, shoulders, and ankles.
Cupping therapy: Though this is typically done in a clinic or office, it can – on occasion – be done in the home, too. This practice alleviates tension and promotes blood flow throughout the body. It helps patients feel loose and less sore after heavy activity.
Pros of utilizing home health care
- Family members are involved in care. When a medical professional visits and treats a patient in their home, others can be present. They help to monitor the care being received and are ‘in the loop’ when it comes to the current and coming steps. Instead of having to be surrounded by only doctors, nurses, and therapists in a medical facility, patients know that someone they explicitly trust can be right there, too.
- One on one care is provided. Patients that receive home health care know that the professional they see is focused entirely on them during each session. There won’t be any outside interruptions (except in the case of an emergency).
- Staying at home is easier. For people with mobility issues, even getting to appointments can be a challenge. Staying in the home for sessions is one way to eliminate this trouble. This is because it means that patients don’t need to worry about getting to and from places to receive the treatment that they need.
- In-home health care allows patients to practice immediately. Doing an exercise in a wide-open space is one thing. Being able to utilize actual permanent surroundings is another thing entirely. By holding physical therapy sessions in a patient’s home, the therapist is able to demonstrate exactly what patients can do in the home for themselves, and how it should be done.
- Home health prepares you for outpatient physical therapy serviceswhen you are ready for them. Your home health physical therapist will let you know when you are ready for clinic visits. They also let you know when to participate in more advanced therapy and utilize exercise machines. You can find a local clinic and schedule an appointment when you are ready HERE.
Home health care: The cons
- Increased stress levels. The home is where a person should feel most comfortable. Sometimes having an outside influence enter it can cause people to feel uncomfortable and as if they are losing their independence. To combat this, it’s important to remind patients that while they do in fact have people coming into their home. This is being done in order to ensure that they can remain at home for as long as possible.
- The environment won’t be as structured as it would be in a facility. Home health care allows patients to do their exercises and receive care in a familiar space. It also takes away from the ability for the therapist to utilize all available tools. For example, equipment that won’t fit into a car cannot be used in a patient’s home. This requires a more thoughtful way to structure the sessions to meet needs.
- A patient’s conditions or needs may not be met with what is available within the home. Even though people should be given the opportunity to receive care within their homes in every scenario sometimes this just isn’t possible. This is because of what they need to be successful. Physical therapy and health care are meant to do what is necessary to improve health over time. These needs differ from patient to patient – so what worked for one individual may not work for another. One common solution for this is to begin the treatment outside of the home. Then when the condition has improved, re-evaluate and see if home care has become a viable option.
Finding At-Home Healthcare Shouldn’t Be Difficult
To learn more about additional pros and cons of home health care from physical therapy specialists near you, visit the BetterPT clinic locator tool page, or even download the BetterPT Physical Therapy appointment app. These resources can – and will – put you into contact with the right people. They also help you begin (or help a loved one begin) their journey to better health. Another option for treatment at home is telehealth. One platform called BetterTelehealth makes it possible to receive home health care in comfortable surroundings.
Consider using one – or more – of these options for your physical therapy sessions. Direct access to different types of physical therapy makes this possible – don’t delay!