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, but 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 due to things like mobility issues or health concerns.
Fortunately, being ill or needing special care doesn’t always require trips to the hospital or an extended stay in a rehabilitation center or a nursing home. Today, doctors, nurses and even physical therapists can visit the homes of their patient and provide high-quality care when (and if) it is needed.
As with every scenario in life, there are pros and cons to this type of care, and 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.
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, and that they are not going to be limited by their diagnosis entirely. Doctors and nurses can 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.
Physical therapy professionals are not only trained and capable with helping patients and their loved ones learn more about the types of exercises and adjustments that can be made to accommodate changes in mobility and health, but they can do so in a safe and structured manner. Working with a physical therapist in the home can help patients become more confident in their day to day activities, as well as 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.
Pros of utilizing home health care
- Family members can be involved in the care. When a medical professional visits and treats a patient in their home, others can be present in order to monitor the care being received and be ‘in the loop’ when it comes to current and coming steps. Instead of having to be surrounded by only doctors , nurses and therapists in a medical facility, patients will know that someone they explicitly trust can be right there, too.
- One on one care is provided. Patients that receive home health care will 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, 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 will allow patients to practice immediately. Doing an exercise in a wide open space is one thing, but being able to utilize actual permanent surroundings is another thing entirely. By holding physical therapy sessions in a patient’s home, the therapist will be able to demonstrate exactly what patients can do in the home for themselves, and how it should be done.
- Home health will prepare you for outpatient physical therapy services when you are ready for them. Your home health physical therapist will let you know when you are ready for clinic visits 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, and 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. Even though 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, requiring 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 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, but these needs will 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, and then when the condition has improved, to re-evaluate and see if home care has become a viable option.
To learn more about additional pros and cons from physical therapy specialists, as well as to ask any other questions that you may have, visit the BetterPT website or even download the BetterPT Physical Therapy appointment app. These resources can – and will – put you into contact with the right people so that you can begin (or help a loved one begin) their journey to better health. .