(Also published in the Senior Review – November 2016)
“There’s no place like home.”
In the holiday season I’m always reminded how wonderful it is to be with family in a nurturing, relaxed, enjoyable, & supportive environment where so many incredible memories are created.
I certainly appreciate not every home environment is positive, but typically the homestead is a refuge of love & support.
For many, this also is the best environment for receiving skilled physical therapy!
Advantages to In-Home Therapy
There are many advantages to working with a health care provider in your home.
- First, people usually feel more safe, comfortable, & relaxed in their residence; it’s familiar & personal to them.
While athletes feel relatively comfortable in a traditional physical therapy open gym treatment setting (often working with a multitude of providers) a lot of individuals feel uncomfortable, threatened, & anxious in an open evaluation/treatment environment.
Patients may especially find it difficult to relax in the often chaotic & intensely busy hospital locations. People desire privacy with more personal one-on-one care home health services can provide.
This most often holds true for individuals in chronic pain populations who struggle with a hypersensitive nervous system often characterized by fear, anxiety, & limited tolerance for noise & crowds.
- Second, a more relaxed residence environment can allow individuals to think more positively & adaptively.
Often individuals with chronic pain are prone to a psychological issue called “catastrophic thinking.”
This cognitive disorder is characterized by a tendency to predict a negative outcome as well as to predict if the negative outcome would occur it would be a catastrophe (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201301/what-is-catastrophizing-cognitive-distortions).
While some require professional counseling to address this, often being in a relaxed setting can make a huge difference! Home care can help avoid or reduce fear & anxiety resulting from being in unfamiliar surroundings.
Additionally, the benefit of allowing those receiving care to be surrounded with those they love & trust often is a significant factor in optimizing treatment outcomes.
- Third, the improved ability to understand & assess an individual’s home situation can allow a Doctor of Physical Therapy to better address safety issues.
In addition to evaluating & treating functional mobility movement disorders & eliminating drivers of pain, a physical therapist is in a great position to screen the home for any hazards & address possible needs for adaptive equipment or devices. It’s a clear benefit & advantage to be able to evaluate a patient’s function in the location they live daily.
Also, home health care treatment sessions allow an improved opportunity for relevant family & friends to interact, learn, & better understand how they can assist the homebound individual.
- Many hospitals have been found to be a big source of infections.
The Center for Disease Control has reported 1 out of 25 individuals end up with hospital acquired infections (2011 Health Grades Hospital Quality in America Study http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/09/hospital-acquired-infections.aspx).
This has become an epidemic in American health care. Reportedly (2011) an estimated 722,000 patients contracted an infection during a stay in an acute care hospital in the US, & about 75,000 of them died as a result of it. In contrast, home care can reduce infection risk.
- Finally, there are major cost savings by being treated at home as compared to a hospital stay.
Hospital costs have become absolutely staggering; it’s now common to receive a bill of close to $30,000 for a one night stay!
In contrast, cash-based clinics are a tremendous bargain typically providing bundled services at a huge discount.
In physical therapy cash-based facilities, an additional benefit is the Doctor of Physical Therapy’s ability to make clinical decisions based solely on what is in the best interest of the patient, not being limited to what a given insurance company feels like reimbursing.
With direct access physical therapy, the patient frequently saves thousands of dollars by avoiding expensive diagnostic testing while also having their unmet needs appropriately addressed.
For many reasons there’s no place like home!