Many stroke survivors will be able to take advantage of home health services at some point in their stroke rehabilitation journey, either after being discharged from inpatient rehab or after going home from the hospital if inpatient rehab isn’t necessary.
Qualifying for Services at Home
Patients who are recovering from a stroke may find it difficult to get out to multiple therapy appointments, so home health can help to overcome this potential barrier and give patients access to the services that they need.
Your physician typically will order the appropriate level of care, but in some cases, it may be necessary for patients or their loved ones to advocate for this. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need in order to ensure an optimal stroke recovery.
Your home health team may involve the following providers, although not all of these disciplines will be involved in every stroke rehab case
- Physical therapist (PT): works on gait training, bed mobility training, strength training, transfer training
- Occupational therapist (OT): helps with activities of daily living like grooming, feeding, home safety evaluation; advises and trains on the use of stroke orthotics
- Nursing: Supports medication management; monitors vital signs such as blood pressure as well as for signs of complications like pneumonia, pressure sores or blood clots; provides stroke education on risk reduction
- Social worker: Makes referrals for practical resources to address financial concerns, ongoing care needs, insurance issues
- Home Health Aide: Assists with bathing and grooming
Importance of Independent Patient Practice
The home health team members likely will be spending a maximum of 3-5 hours/week with you. So, if you only work on your PT or OT exercises during those visits, you won’t get the best results from your stroke rehabilitation efforts.
Patients must do the work in between sessions in order to see continued improvement. Follow guidance from your PT and OT regarding the frequency and repetitions of your exercise regimen. If necessary, work with a caregiver to develop a schedule that keeps you on track.
Home health services can drastically improve rehabilitation outcomes and your life after a stroke. Talk to your doctor to make sure that you’re taking advantage of everything that these services have to offer.