By BEN ADEL | Special to the Palisadian-Post
Home health services are those which include medical care and treatments for seniors over 65 years of age, individuals with disabilities and other eligible recipients.
Physical therapy ranks among the most common home health services and is widely available for qualified patients in the comfort of their own home. Physical therapy aims to help patients gain more movement and flexibility out of their body, a slightly different focus than occupational therapy, which targets a regaining of the ability to complete everyday tasks, known as activities of daily living, for the patient.
Who Qualifies for Physical Therapy at Home?
Qualifying for physical therapy in your home has certain requirements. The most significant criteria include:
- Individuals must be under the care of a doctor.
- A physician-approved plan of care must in place.
- Medical care needs must be less than around-the-clock, 24-hour care.
- In addition to other detailed requirements for Medicare eligibility, you must also be a citizen of the United States or have been a legal resident for at least five years.
In California, all home health service providers must be certified either through a state licensing agency or through Medicare.
How Do You Pay for Home Health Services Like Physical Therapy?
There are many ways to pay for home health services, including Medi-Cal, Medicare, long-term care insurance, private health insurance, VA benefits, private pay (out of pocket) or a combination of any of the above. It is important to note that Medicare-certified agencies must follow specific Medicare criteria.
In order to qualify for Medicare home health benefits, the patient needs to be homebound or unable to travel for care. Most patients who receive in-home physical therapy are referred to the service by their physician.
Your doctor can make the referral for a service that offers physical therapy and can attest that home PT services are medically necessary. Your doctor will also be required to continue overseeing your health and progress.
If home health care services are denied, you may have a right to appeal. Call your insurance company and ask about an appeals process. You may also wish to call your doctor’s office to explain your situation. Your physician may be able to help you navigate the appeals process.
What Can You Expect from Physical Therapy Sessions at Home?
Physical therapy in the home aims to restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease.
A patient’s first visit by a home health physical therapist will include an evaluation. They will perform an examination to identify current and potential issues and areas for improvement. The examination will take into account the patient’s physical strength, range of motion, coordination, balance, special circumstances specific to each patient, instruction on HEP (home exercise program) and safety precautions.
Based on the results of the examination, as well as taking into consideration specific goals, the physical therapist will design a plan of care to include specific interventions and will propose a timetable to achieve these goals and optimize function. The physical therapist will likely provide the patient with instructions to perform exercises to facilitate recovery in between visits.
The Advantages of In-Home Physical Therapy
Bringing physical therapy into a home setting can not only be convenient for those who already have limited motion, but it can also reduce environmental stressors that occur when traveling to a location for therapy.
But one of the biggest advantages of in-home physical therapy is personalized care. In-home therapists usually have fewer patients—to allow for the travel time between locations—and this means you’ll benefit from a focused and personalized experience from your therapist.
A recent study from the American Physical Therapy Association demonstrated that not only do the best results from therapy come from individualized and personalized care plans, but that patients who see a therapist more regularly are less likely to be hospitalized again for the same injuries.
If you or a senior loved one needs physical therapy, it’s time to consider receiving these important treatments from qualified, licensed and trained physical therapists in the comfort and convenience of your own home.
Ben Adel is founder of Luxe Homecare, a Pacific Palisades-based homecare and home health agency offering services in Los Angeles, Orange County and Riverside. They offer round-the-clock support, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, registered nurses (RN and LVN) and more. Background checks are required for all staff to give you and your loved ones the peace of mind you deserve. Contact the Luxe team at 310-459-3535 or visit luxehomecare.com.
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