It’s perfectly normal for patients to feel nervous when a therapist is scheduled for a home evaluation. Some may spend days cleaning the home – but please keep in mind that the therapist is only there to learn about their patient and what is needed to make the home safe.
Topics Discussed The Day of The Appointment
This is the day both you and the physical therapist decided would work best within your schedules. To be best prepared for the therapist’s visit, it’s recommended you:
- Have your medications ready for review
- Eat before the meeting
- Have a family member or close, trustworthy friend there with you – this day will be busy with lots of information and conversation
Once at your home, the therapist will ensure you are comfortable with the arrangement and having them in your home. Remember: your comfort is their top priority. They will then:
- Review your medical history
- Inquire about your current concerns
- Ask about any pain you may be feeling – and the type of pain
They will also take the time to review your medications. This is important because they need to know the side effects as well as any effects you may be feeling from them. Please also know they will be curious as to how you manage your medications.
It’s also important for them to understand your eating habits and how you are able to get groceries – shopping can be extremely taxing and the bags are often packed and heavier than needed. They will want to know who will do, or does, the shopping and how the groceries are put away. This conversation will also cover:
- Any help you receive at home with laundry, meals/meal preparation, and cleaning
- Any family support you have and who, if anyone, helps you make decisions
Physical Evaluations Completed During the Home Visit
Along with the questions the physical therapist will ask as mentioned above, they will also conduct a physical evaluation. First, a full exam will be completed either on your bed or on your couch and then will move, if able to, to the rest of the home. This includes:
- Range of motion (ROM)
- Muscle strength
- How you roll in bed
- Stand up
- Sit and stand from the toilet
- Simulate how you shower
- How well you can handle the stairs (if there are any)
- If you can access the home entrance/exit safely
- Get in and out of the vehicle
- Walk to the mailbox and back inside the home
During this exam, the physical therapist will take your vital signs to compare with what they read prior to the physical examination. This is to evaluation how much they fluctuate due to stress and physical exertion.
Following the examination, the physical therapist will then discuss their findings with you and your relative or friend. Based on how you performed, they will recommend tools to help you safely live in your home with as much independence as possible. This includes tools you may use to help get in and out of the home, use in the bathroom, travel up and down your stairs, etc. They may also recommend follow-up therapy and help you make those appointments.
Please note: This is also the time to ask any questions you have – this can be a difficult and confusing time, so please do not hesitate to ask your physical therapist any questions. If they are unable to answer them, they will put you in touch with someone who can.
At the end of the evaluation, your therapist will send the report to your personal physician.
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