Home Sweet (Functional) Home: Helping Patients Achieve Functional Goals at Home
As an ATS team member for more than six years, Hana appreciates being supported and surrounded by ethical, compassionate and hard-working professionals who are motivated to provide quality care to the patients we serve.
As a home health Physical Therapist, Hana helps patients achieve their maximum rehabilitation potential in the comfort of their home, whether residing in a senior living facility or private residence. Also, she supports patients at East Bank Center, providing skilled interventions to safely discharge to home or the next site of care.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, providing home-based therapy has been essential to support patients recovering from trauma, surgery or ongoing rehabilitation needs post-discharge from the hospital or post-acute care setting. Ensuring strict adherence to our comprehensive infection control policies has been even more vital during the pandemic. Also, we continue to care for patients with multiple underlying musculoskeletal disorders that may not be directly related to the primary need for therapy. It is important to take a holistic approach to not only address the primary diagnosis, but also the impact of co-morbidities in order to design a comprehensive plan of care.
Recently, we connected with Hana to gain her insight about considerations to follow when providing in-home care.
Q: What should clinicians consider when addressing the needs of patients who may have co-morbidities such arthritis, back pain or recovering from trauma at home?|
A: It’s important to assess key areas, including, patient’s safety and efficiency in performing functional mobility tasks (e.g., bed mobility, transfers, gait and stair climbing, etc.), the home environment, durable medical equipment/assistive devices needed, and availability of caregiver/family support and assistance. Ensure the plan of care incorporates skilled PT/OT/ST interventions and recommendations based on appropriate level of assistance needed, and in conjunction with the care needs of underlying musculoskeletal disorders. Communication within the entire care team to address both short- and long-term goals is vital, especially when addressing the needs of patients with co-morbidities.
Q: Besides providing therapy and other clinical interventions, what else is important to consider for those receiving in-home care?
A: Knowledge is power and is a vital factor to a patient’s overall rehabilitation success. I follow a quote from a physician I’ve worked with, “A well-informed patient turns out to be a better patient.” It is important to provide easy to understand patient/family tools and resources to support their knowledge of how to reach specific functional goals. Click here for resources and tips from APTA>>
Q: What advice do you have for other clinicians as they care for patients with therapy needs while receiving rehab from home?
A: Providing care can be strenuous on the clinician. It is important to implement injury prevention strategies, such as using aids/equipment, asking for help when transferring a patient, use proper mechanics and posture. This will help to decrease the risk of work-related injury.
Resources for Supporting Bone and Joint Health
October 12-20 is Bone and Joint Health Action Week to help raise awareness about the prevention, management, and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Musculoskeletal conditions include back pain, arthritis, traumatic injuries, osteoporosis, spinal deformity and childhood conditions. A few facts:
More than half (54%) of the U.S. population over the age of 18 are affected by musculoskeletal (bone and joint) conditions.
Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide, affecting hundreds of millions of people.
Musculoskeletal conditions can lead to significant disability plus diminished productivity and quality of life.
Since 2011, due to the number of Baby Boomers, the economic and societal cost of bone and joint health escalated and is expected to continue for decades.
- Communication within the entire care team to address both short- and long-term goals is vital, especially when addressing the needs of patients with co-morbidities and addressing patient-specific functional ability and overall quality of life goals.
- Assess the home environment, caregiver/family support and patient specific needs to support overall functional goals.
- Ensure the plan of care incorporates skilled PT/OT/ST interventions and recommendations based on appropriate level of assistance needed, and in conjunction with the care needs of underlying musculoskeletal disorders.
- Provide patient/family tools and resources to be an active participant in achieving functional status goals.
- Implement injury prevention strategies to decrease work-related injury.