The Importance of Home Care

Over 75% of people requiring home care are seniors who require assistance in managing physical and cognitive limitations. Physiotherapy provided in the home lowers mortality rates related to falls (by lowering fall risk), reduces number of nursing home admissions and hospitalizations, reduces need for surgeries and decreases hospital length of stay. Home-based physiotherapy services provide assessment and treatments to home-bound patients for many conditions including; stroke, heart failure, Parkinson’s disease, dementia and recovery from hip-replacement surgery, as well as deconditioning due to age.

For many elderly people, fall risk is a life-threatening concern. Approximately 28-35% of people aged 65 and over fall each year and that increases to 32-42% for those over 70 years of age. 95% of broken hips are caused by those falls, and 1 out of every 5 patients with a broken hip will not live longer than 1 year after the fall.

The human body and brain is meant to be challenged constantly, so the less you use your body, the less your body is able to do. Your body has a system in the inner ear called the vestibular system, responsible for your balance and positioning, and the less active you are your vestibular system becomes insufficient. This is common in elderly people and leads to loss of balance (often when challenged by something like getting up at night to use the bathroom when your brain isn’t as sharp) and subsequently, falls and injuries.

After being injured, if someone is not properly managed by healthcare professionals and physiotherapists, they are likely to get weak and deconditioned and lose range of motion in the affected limbs. This usually leads to pain and decreased activity even further as well as decreased social interactions. Over time as the body and mind is used less and less other health complications occur and this downward spiral is what leads to such a high mortality rate. This is where home care physiotherapy is so important. Once a need is identified, a physio will come into the home and evaluate the patient fully as well as their home situation, looking for any possible risk factors.

Risk factors can come from many sources so the physio will be looking at everything including factors like cognition/mentation, urinary incontinence, the safety of flooring/surfaces and even medications and risky drug interactions. After the evaluation, the physio will then come up with a treatment plan incorporating the patient and family’s expectations. The treatment may include training in how to safely stand from a chair or walk properly or move around better in bed, it may include equipment supply and training the patient or caregivers on how to use it, it may include pain relief techniques and general stretching strengthening exercises, or it may include training the caregivers and family members in how to properly assist the patient to decrease both risk to the patient and risk of injuring themselves while assisting the patient.

Physio helping elderly man using walker

Home-based physiotherapy improves overall physical wellbeing, enhances social functioning, ensures routine monitoring of isolated clients, and reduces the rate of re-hospitalisation and future healthcare service utilisation. There are also telerehabilitation programs, as an accessible alternative to home-based physiotherapy services in rural and remote communities, that produce positive health outcomes. Telerehabilitation is “the provision of rehabilitation intervention, education, training and support using technology across distances”

Home-based physiotherapy programs help ensure continuity of care and facilitate the transition from hospital to home. Experienced home-based physiotherapy increases independence, teaches self-management and promotes empowerment.

• Home-based services with regular visits from health care professionals, consistent monitoring and follow-up ensures continuity of care among health care professionals. This also ensures that significant medical events are caught early and prevents major complications from occuring.

• Patient satisfaction is high for both home-based physiotherapy and telerehabilitation programs.

• Home-based physiotherapy enables patients to be more active, safely. In most cases, home-based physiotherapy also aims to rehabilitate the patient to the point that they can once again be active in their community rather than just at home.

Here at PCA, we cater for those people who cannot attend treatment sessions in the clinic, or find it difficult to attend sessions at the clinic. Our Physiotherapists are dedicated health professionals, committed to helping you achieve your functional goals, through an individualised treatment program based on your specific needs.

A PCA physiotherapist will visit you in your home, and discuss with you your presenting problem, your general health, and your treatment goals before physically assessing the problem. Using this information he or she will develop an individual Treatment Plan, and treatment usually starts on the first visit. With your permission, the physiotherapist will liaise with other medical professionals that are treating you to ensure a multi-disciplinary approach to your care.

Leave a Reply