COVID-19 has led to an important shift in patient care. Rather than rely on skilled nursing facilities to restore their health, patients and physicians are turning to in-home physical therapy instead. In-home therapy not only protects patients from infection, but it also ensures continuity of care during recovery.
In-home physical therapy curbs exposure
When people work one-on-one with a therapist, it limits opportunities for infection. In an ordinary outpatient setting, they would be exposed to patients and staff who might be carrying the virus. In-home physical therapy, however, allows them to rehabilitate in a safe environment.
In addition, Parentis Home Health Care workers have taken extra steps to protect patients. We test our therapists every week to ensure there is no risk of them transmitting the disease. Therapists also wipe down and sanitize their equipment after each session. Furthermore, our staff is cautious and avoids places where they might be exposed to large groups of people. Finally, masks are worn whenever they are working. By adopting these measures, our physical therapists have been able to keep patients safe while delivering essential care.
In-home physical therapy guarantees continuity of care
In the wake of COVID-19, many skilled nursing facilities have shut down. With patients and staff working and living so close together, they were especially vulnerable to the disease. As a result, patients are going home after their operations rather than to care facilities. Most hospitals are encouraging this because skilled nursing homes have become so dangerous.
However, this has created a gap in patient care. Instead of spending weeks rehabilitating with a team of licensed medical providers, patients now need providers to come to them. As a result, to ensure their recovery is not interrupted, in-home physical therapy has been embraced by the healthcare community.
Therapists respond to patient demand
Even though in-home therapists are handling more of the recovery process, this has not hampered their ability to deliver services. Due to the pandemic, many elective procedures were either canceled or put on hold. Therefore, demand for physical therapy has remained steady throughout the pandemic. The drop off in voluntary procedures has freed therapists to concentrate on the large number of patients still recovering from life-saving operations.
Helping patients settle in
Traditionally, when a patient moved into a skilled nursing home, the nurses trained them on how to use any medical equipment they required. However, now that in-home physical therapists are helping them transition from the hospital, they have taken on this responsibility. For example, they might teach patients how to get in and out of a wheelchair or how to stand, sit, and handle stairs in a walker. Patients may also need coaching on how to enter and exit a car or use the bathroom.
In addition to keeping patients safe and providing continuity of care, in-home physical therapy also helps people recovering from COVID.
For many of them, recovery does not end when their symptoms disappear. In the long term, COVID can affect strength, mobility, balance, endurance, and respiration. Therefore, to get patients back to where they were, therapists might recommend one or more of the following exercises.
Respiratory Control. Targets breathing muscles and increases oxygen in the bloodstream.
Passive Joint Motion. To raise flexibility, the therapist moves joints through their full range of motion without help from the patient.
Muscle Stretching. Releases muscle tension and increases muscle length, for better flexibility.
Bedside Standing Training.Strengthens muscle groups in patients who have difficulty standing on their own.
Walking Exercises. Enhances motion in lower joints, builds strength, and develops balance by mimicking the repetitive motions of walking.
In-home physical therapy also helps patients maintain strength and endurance by setting concrete goals for them to work towards even after home care ends. The ability to track progress using everyday benchmarks (e.g., walking to the mailbox, showering on their own) helps motivate them to continue the exercises they learned.
Benefits of in-home physical therapy
The goal of patient care is to give people the ability to handle daily activities on their own. The response to COVID has shown everyone the benefits of in-home physical therapy. It helps patients recover their strength without the risk of infection.