After being discharged from the hospital, the journey to full recovery is not always complete. For many patients, it's the post-discharge phase that truly tests their determination and resilience to achieve full recovery. Post-discharge physical rehabilitation or home physiotherapy, plays a pivotal role in restoring health, mobility, and independence. In this article, we'll explore seven important facts you need to know if your loved one needs physiotherapy for full recovery at home.
Written by: Senior Physiotherapist En.Azrul Naim | Edited by: Pharmacist Khang Phing Goh
When to start home physiotherapy?
If you or your loved one is having the health concerns as described below, physical rehabilitation can be started as early as first week after diagnosed by doctor. In most cases, home physiotherapy can be started after being evaluated by physiotherapist as soon as the patient is discharged back home.
Post operation for fracture - orthopedic condition
Stroke & spinal cord injury - neurological condition
Neck / back / knee pain - musculoskeletal condition
Muscle / ligaments injury - work related / sport related injury
Muscle weakness & loss of balance - geriatric condition
The physiotherapist will determine the exact time frame for each individual according to the condition/severity. START SLOW, PROGESS STEADILY. The rehab process starts with low grade, low intensity, low repetition & progress until fully recovery achieved.
Is it safe to start physiotherapy at the early stage?
Yes, it is highly recommended to start physiotherapy at an early stage to prevent secondary complication & enhance the chances for recovery.
Physiotherapist will take into consideration all safety measures regarding the patient’s condition and will apply suitable treatment methods based on the patient’s diagnosis.
What Should You Expect for Your First Home Physiotherapy Session?
Knowing the patient is fundamental to providing effective treatment. Here’s what you can generally expect for your first physical rehabilitation session at home:
Medical History and Assessment: You'll have an initial consultation with the physical therapist. They will review your medical history, including any relevant medical conditions, injuries, or surgeries, and discuss your goals for rehabilitation.
Physical Examination: A physical examination may be conducted to assess your current condition, including your impairment, range of motion, strength, and any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing.
Discussion of Goals: You will have a conversation with your healthcare provider to define your rehabilitation goals. These goals might include improving mobility, regaining independence, managing pain, or returning to specific activities.
Treatment Plan Development: Based on the assessment and your goals, the physiotherapist will develop an individualized treatment plan. This plan will outline the specific therapeutic intervention, exercises, and electrical device you'll receive during your rehabilitation.
Initial Treatment Session: Depending on your specific rehabilitation needs, you may start your first pain management, manual therapy, or exercise session on the same day.
Education: You'll receive education about your condition, severity, movement or posture correction, treatment plan, and any assistive devices or tools that might be recommended for your rehabilitation.
Scheduling Follow-Up Appointments: Typically, you'll schedule follow-up appointments and sessions for your ongoing rehabilitation. These appointments will allow the rehab team to monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
The specifics of your first day of rehab will depend on your unique needs.
Whether you're recovering from surgery, managing a chronic condition, or rehabilitating from an injury, the goal of your first day of rehab is to establish a baseline, set goals, and create a personalized plan to help you on your path to recovery and improved function.
Be sure to ask questions and communicate your concerns with your home physiotherapist regarding your rehabilitation program.
What are the Dos and Don’ts during Your Recovery Period?
Keep the non-affected part/joint actively moving to preserve the function
Try to strengthen the weak muscles for stroke condition
Stretch the tight muscle
Train the balance, stability, and coordination for stroke case
Train for circulation exercise for post-operation condition
Always be incorrect posture
Elevate the limb part that is swelling
Apply physio support items like lumbar sacral support for case of post-operation or for postural correction purposes or knee support to allow better movement
Apply an icepack to the swelling & painful area, while hot pack at the stiff & painful area
Perform training w/in your capability & stamina
Stay hydrated during the physio session
Overexert doing exercise, avoid pushing too hard too fast at one time
Ignore pain: pain indicates the body's tolerance
Perform exercise & rehab w/out supervision, because improper technique & posture will cause more serious harm
Direct impact/load at fracture area
Stretch or strengthen directly at the muscle that just completed the operation
Skip rehab sessions, because it will delay the healing process, and even may cause an unwanted adverse effect
Compare your body tolerance with other patients, or apply the other patient's rehab treatment to yourself, because the wrong method leads to chronic & serious impairment
Importance of obtaining discharge note when being discharged from hospital
The most important information to keep by patient/family member is a letter from the doctor or discharge note that contains the Doctor’s diagnosis. Whenever physiotherapists know the diagnosis, straight away rehab team can plan an accurate & precise treatment plan & approach to handle the case. In addition, some doctors will write referral letters to the physiotherapy department to continue the necessity.
What are the objectives/physiotherapy goals after discharge?
The goals of physiotherapy treatment can vary widely based on an individual's clinical condition, level of severity, stage of injury, or specific needs. The primary aim of physiotherapy is to promote optimal physical function, mobility, and overall well-being. Here are some common treatment goals in physiotherapy:
Pain Reduction: Alleviating or managing pain is a fundamental goal of many physiotherapy treatments. Techniques like manual therapy, modalities (e.g., TENS & ultrasound), and therapeutic exercises can help reduce pain.
Improved Mobility and Range of Motion: Physiotherapists work to restore and enhance joint mobility, muscle flexibility, and range of motion. This is particularly important for individuals recovering from injuries, surgeries, or musculoskeletal conditions.
Enhanced Strength and Muscle Function: Physiotherapy often involves strength-building exercises to improve muscle function. This can be crucial for rehabilitation after an injury or to manage conditions like muscle weakness like stroke or atrophy.
Restoration of Function: Physiotherapists aim to help individuals regain functional abilities and independence. For example, this could involve relearning how to perform bed mobility, how to sit & stand, to retrain for walking, climb stairs, or perform daily activities following an injury or surgery.
Balance and Coordination: For those with balance or coordination issues, physiotherapy can help improve stability and reduce the risk of falls.
Posture Improvement: Correcting poor posture and ergonomics is another common goal in physiotherapy. Addressing postural issues can help alleviate pain and prevent future problems.
Sports Rehabilitation: Athletes often use physiotherapy to recover from sports-related injuries and regain peak physical performance. Treatment may include sports-specific exercises and techniques.
Respiratory Health: Physiotherapy can improve lung function and respiratory health, especially for individuals with conditions like asthma, COPD, or after surgery.
Prevention and Education: Physiotherapists educate patients about proper body mechanics, ergonomics, and exercises to prevent injuries and maintain overall health.
Pregnancy and Postpartum Care: Physiotherapy can assist pregnant individuals with managing musculoskeletal changes and provide postpartum care for issues like pelvic floor dysfunction.
Neurological Rehabilitation: For individuals with neurological conditions, such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, or multiple sclerosis, the goal may be to improve mobility, function, and quality of life.
Palliative Care: In palliative care, physiotherapy can focus on maintaining comfort, mobility, and quality of life for individuals with serious or terminal illnesses.
Geriatric Care: For older adults, physiotherapy goals may include fall prevention, pain management, improving strength and balance, and enhancing overall quality of life.
Return to Work: Physiotherapy can help individuals recover from work-related injuries or surgeries and facilitate a safe return to the workplace.
Physiotherapy treatment goals are highly individualized and determined based on a thorough assessment by the physiotherapist. The specific goals and treatment plan will be tailored to the patient's condition, needs, and objectives.
It's essential for the patient to actively participate in their rehabilitation and work collaboratively with the physiotherapist to achieve these goals.
How physiotherapy can improve quality of life after discharge?
After discharge from the hospital, physiotherapy plays an important role in enhancing the recovery of patients.
Not only focuses on improving physical function, pain management, and emotional well-being, the most significant contribution of physiotherapy is to prevent secondary complications related to immobility, such as pressure ulcers, muscle atrophy, blood clots, and depleted stamina or cardiorespiratory function. When all components are treated accordingly, patients will have a better quality of life.
How can I get home physiotherapy treatment for my loved one in Malaysia?
If you or your loved one has just been discharged from the hospital and you're looking for professional advice and individualized treatment plan for full recovery from a physiotherapist who can treat at your home, speak to us now to get your Free Consultation today!
Our physiotherapists specialize in providing home physiotherapy services to patients who require physical rehabilitation in the comfort of their own homes in Northern and Southern Malaysia, including Penang, Sungai Petani, and Johor Bahru.
Learn more about our home physiotherapy service here.
Remeds Homecare also provides other home care services for the elderly such as hospital bed rental, home nursing, home wound care, and wheelchair repair services , to serve as a one-stop solution for post-discharge care at home in Malaysia.
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