Home Health vs Outpatient Physical Therapy


In-Home Physical Therapy (Home Health) vs. Outpatient Physical Therapy

In the past year, the landscape of physical therapy has significantly changed due to the pandemic. PTs and physical therapy clinics now need to operate differently to meet the varied demands of patients who want to get the treatment in the safety and comfort of their homes. At Elite Care at Home, we understand these changes in the behavior and demands; therefore, we provide home visit physical therapy by licensed, trained, and experienced professionals in Miami Dade County, Broward, and Monroe counties.

However, finding the right type of rehabilitation setting plays a significant role in shaping the recovery of patients. Some patients improve better in outpatient clinic settings, while others improve when a trained practitioner assists them in recovery within the comfort of their home. The primary care specialist or practitioner can suggest which rehabilitation setting is better for the patient. But before deciding this, you need to know the difference between home health PT and outpatient rehab.

What is Home Health Physical Therapy?

Home health physical therapy is a form of PT which the professional physical therapist delivers at your home. This service is primarily for patients who cannot leave their house to visit outpatient PT. The focus of home health PT is to improve strength and motion, usually after an illness or injury. Moreover, this unique approach allows the clinicians to work in collaboration with PTs to provide resources, education, and tools according to patient’s conditions to maximize their function and safety or prevent or slow down the deterioration.

Home health care physical therapy offers a convenient, effective, and affordable option to get a similar level of patient care that you receive in a skilled PT or nursing facility. Our qualified and experienced home health PTs work one-on-one with you in your own environment providing physical therapy services according to your needs and goals.

The experience of patient in-home healthcare “encompasses the range of interactions that patients have with the healthcare system [and] includes several aspects of health care delivery that patients value highly when they seek and receive care, such as getting timely appointments, easy access to information, and good communication with health care providers,” as stated by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

What does a Home Care Physical Therapist Do?

A home care physical therapist delivers the PT services as described in the patient’s treatment plan in home settings. Besides, the home care PT works with the patient’s practitioner and case manager as well as adjusters. They evaluate and treat their physical condition meeting the personalized goals and needs of the patient.

Is Home Health and Physical Therapy the Same Thing?

Home health physical therapy offers an alternative to conventional outpatient physical therapy. In-home health PT offers greater abilities and freedom of what the physical therapists can provide to their patients for a speedy recovery. On the other hand, physical therapy covers a broader range of conditions related to neurological, musculoskeletal, and cardiac systems and how these disorders affect the interactions with various physical motions.

What is Outpatient Physical Therapy?

Outpatient physical therapy is a kind of outpatient rehabilitation service. It involves visits to a PT clinic, hospital, or nursing facility to take physical therapy sessions. Generally, these sessions are 30 to 60 minutes long in which outpatient physical therapists help you perform various exercises to improve your mobility, strength, and independence. Your PT develops an individualized treatment plan depending on your condition or injury to meet your specific needs and goals.

What is the difference between outpatient and inpatient physical therapy?

Outpatient PT refers to the services that a patient receives while not admitted to the hospital or rehabilitation facility. The outpatient rehabilitation programs generally offer similar therapies as inpatient PT facilities. However, they’re intended for patients who don’t have severe mobility and strength issues and help improve routine motion and life quality.

Alternatively, inpatient physical therapy refers to the physical therapy services that physical therapist provides during the hospital stay or at the physical therapy clinic or nursing facility. This option is suitable for those who need long-term and extensive physical therapy for conditions that require constant and special care of practitioners or physicians.

Types of outpatient physical therapy

There can be various types of outpatient physical therapies, depending on the condition and needs of the patient. Few most common outpatient physical treatments include the following:

  • Physical therapy for neurological, musculoskeletal, injuries and other health conditions
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Psychological therapy

Alternatively, what are the differences between in-home physical therapy and outpatient physical therapy?

A physical therapist provides the in-home PT in your home, allowing your therapist to evaluate home safety, provide a checklist of required changes, recommendations and deliver a personalized PT plan. On the other hand, outpatient therapy is performed within a hospital or clinic setting that has limited distractions. As the therapists do not provide the services in a home setting, they cannot give recommendations regarding improving safety and the environment at home.

At Elite Care at Home, we have a qualified and experienced team of physical therapists who conduct in-depth home evaluations and develop an individualized PT plan to meet your specific needs. We work one-on-one with you to deliver optimal outcomes within the comfort of your own home. Based on the assessment, we also recommend improvements in your home environment to enhance safety.

What does a Home Care Physical Therapist Do?

A home care physical therapist executes the services as defined in your individual treatment plan within your home settings. The focus of a home physical therapist is to help you improve your motion, strength, and quality of life. This type of physical therapy rehabilitation offers a better recovery and independence without compromising the comfort of your home.

Is In-Home Physical Therapy More Effective Than Outpatient Physical Therapy?

In-home physical therapy provides more personalized care based on a one-on-one relationship with the physical therapist in a familiar and comfortable environment. Senior adults can especially stay independent during in-home physical therapy instead of depending on the PT facility staff for basic tasks. This produces better outcomes than outpatient physical therapy, which does not have this level of personalization. Additionally, in-home PT is often less costly than outpatient physical therapy.

How to Determine Which One is the Right Fit for You or Your Loved One?

Whether you’re the right candidate for the in-home physical therapy or outpatient rehabilitation depends on your condition, physician recommendations, your needs, and goals. Generally, if you have a condition that resulted in functional mobility loss or a senior who cannot access an outpatient physical therapy facility, you can benefit from in-home physical therapy. Some conditions that may need home health physical therapy include but are not limited to the following:

  • Stroke
  • Post-surgical conditions such as knee replacement or hip surgery
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • After the occurrence of a cardiac event such as a heart attack
  • ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
  • After a trauma like a fracture

In addition, if you suffer from mobility problems or if transportation is not accessible, you can book our homecare physical therapy services. Elite Care at Home provides premium quality home physical therapy services by qualified and experienced professionals. Our home care physical therapists understand your needs, condition, and goals while assessing your home environment to improve your condition and restore your functional mobility.

Get in touch with us to explore more about our home care PT services today.