October is National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM), and it is another chance for us to recognize the 2,252 physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) working for Amedisys. PTs and PTAs are an essential part of an interdisciplinary home healthcare team that helps patients resume their daily activities and improve their overall health and well-being.
According to the World Health Organization, instances of chronic disease are expected to rise by 57 percent by the year 2020, by which time one in four adults will have two or more chronic health conditions. With the incidence of chronic diseases such as Heart Failure and COPD, physical therapy is an integral part of the care plan. Therapists and assistants work with patients on mobility and lifestyle changes, monitor symptoms and request interventions to help avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room. As an example, studies2 show that if a COPD patient cannot walk at least 200 feet during a six-minute walking test, they have a higher chance of returning to the hospital.
Amedisys clinicians deliver care at home using an empowerment methodology focused on teaching patients and their caregivers self-management strategies designed to help patients achieve their goals. This approach builds up patient and caregiver confidence and empowers them to manage safety and productivity at home. Physical therapy helps decrease the duration and severity of the disabilities that arise from chronic disease and helps patients return to their desired activities, such as going to church or working in the garden.
For those suffering from chronic conditions, physical therapy sessions at home also help patients understand how increased physical activity and better lifestyle choices lead to improvement in their quality of life. Physical activity enhances weight loss, lowers blood pressure and improves mental health. An exercise program may also decrease future cardiac events and mortality.
Thank a physical therapist this month. They keep America moving!
2 Casanova, C., Cote, C. G., et al. (2007). "The 6-min walking distance: long-term follow up in patients with COPD." Eur Respir J 29(3): 535-540.