Being mobile is vitally important for a full life. Age, injury, illness and disabilities, however, can limit your activity. When that happens, physical therapy can help you recover your independence or at least your ability to do as much as possible. At Pathfinder Home Health, our goal is to improve quality of life and level of independence for you or your loved one.
All physical therapy has two major goals. The first is to help people improve movement. Strategies to achieve this goal include improving muscle strength, flexibility and joint function. A physical therapist might use exercises, stretching and weight lifting, or teach patients better body mechanics to improve balance and prevent injury. The second goal is to relieve pain. Tight muscles, for example, can be painful. In addition to techniques previously mentioned, a physical therapist might use massage, heat or ultrasound therapy to promote pain relief. Ideally, physical therapy will allow patients to regain their independence. If that’s not possible, the goal is to maximize independence, improve quality of life and ensure safety.
Who Needs Physical Therapy?
Pathfinders Home Health physical therapy services cover a wide variety of conditions. Postoperative rehabilitation after orthopedic or other kinds of surgery helps improve mobility and function. For people who have mobility issues after a stroke or injury, the goal is to regain mobility. Other therapies are designed to improve generalized weakness that increases the risk of falls and prevents normal activity. We can deal with balance issues and develop a fall prevention plan. Assistive and adaptive devices like braces or walkers can help people with disabilities become more mobile and cope, but training is required for optimum function and patient safety.
Education and Training
Physical therapists are highly-educated professionals. Most have a minimum of a master’s degree and in many cases, they hold a doctorate. They complete extensive training and supervised clinical practice in residency and (for some) fellowship training. Physical therapists may also hold specialty certifications in various areas such as orthopedic rehabilitation. Physical therapy assistants must have an associate degree. Physical therapists must be licensed to practice, and physical therapist assistants must be licensed or certified in all states. Physical therapist assistants cannot practice independently, but must work under the supervision of a physical therapist.
The physical therapist performs patient assessments, makes a diagnosis based on the assessment, patient functions and movements, and develops a plan of care. Each care plan is based on the individual patient’s needs and goals. The physical therapist also evaluates how patients respond to therapy and — based on the patient’s progress — may change the care plan try new treatments as necessary. Physical therapists also develop an educational plan for patients and family members as part of the treatment. Physical therapist assistants carry out the plan, and may have primary responsibility for direct care such as helping the patient walk or perform exercises.
About Our Care
Pathfinders Home Health physical therapists and physical therapist assistants provide care for patients of all ages. They will modify treatments to suit the age or development level of the patient as well as physical capabilities. For example, when working with a disabled child, treatment might include playing games like throwing and catching a ball to improve coordination. These professionals are part of a larger team, and collaborate with other therapists like occupational or speech-language pathologists, as well as physicians, nurses and social workers. They also work with family members and caregivers to teach them how to support and care for their loved ones.
Pathfinders Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants provide services to restore muscle and joint function which include:
Balance Issues and Fall Prevention Management
Assistive and Adaptive Devices
Physical therapy generally involves pursuing developmental milestones that have been delayed for any number of reasons. Our therapists typically use techniques and routines that may seem like play, but are designed to target areas of delay and difficulty through stretching, strengthening, and reinforcing in a non-threatening way.