Physical Therapy in the Home
Last month was National Physical Therapy Month, a time to raise awareness with consumers about the many benefits of physical therapy and also to appreciate what PT professionals do to change lives. Many people don’t think about the fact that home health care includes physical therapy. Indeed, it is an important part of moving acute care patients, like post-operative clients, back to autonomy and to helping long-term care patients remain independent.
We talked to physical therapist Jenn Quinn of Addison County Home Health and Hospice about what led her to home care PT and why she considers it the perfect place of service for her.
“I think treating someone in their home is the most applicable environment to their real life,” Jenn relates. “Working on stairs in a clinical setting is great, but doesn’t necessarily translate to [the patient] being able to use the stairs in their home. For us to be able to provide care in the place where a person lives and functions is truly unique and the most effective place to treat the patient.”
She notes that because patients are inviting home health staff into their homes, caregivers develop special relationships, particularly when patients are most vulnerable.
“We feel it’s an honor to go into patients’ homes. We really do think of it as an invitation and that is something we respect,” she adds.
When asked what led her to her current career in home health, Jenn says she feels lucky to have found out how rewarding it can be.
“I started my job as a PT in a rehab facility, and I loved that,” she explains. “By chance, one of my fellow clinicians left to do a home health job and enticed me to go with her. I’m so grateful that I did. As soon as I started in-home care, I realized I could never work anywhere else,” she stresses.
She says she doubts people realize all the different hats home care PTs wear.
“Sometimes to obtain the most effective results, we have to step out of our PT box a little bit,” she muses. “Some days, we might need to be a social worker, some days, a nurse assessing a wound, some days, part occupational therapist—all to give care the way patients need it. It’s challenging, but also pretty special, and it keeps it interesting!”