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Steady Encouragement Helps One Patient Reclaim Her Independence

Residential Home Health physical therapist Tom’s persistent support helped empower his patient to accomplish an intimidating treatment goal.It’s normal to be apprehensive about doing something new, like making a health change, even when we understand how important it can be. Coping with a new diagnosis or beginning a different course of treatment can come with a long list of instructions and new routines that might feel intimidating or beyond our reach, often tempting us to stick to old habits that feel ‘safe.’ At times like these, the support and encouragement of a dedicated care team can be a key motivating force to help a patient stay on track with his or her plan of care.

This was true for one Residential Home Health patient, who counted herself lucky to have physical therapist Tom on her Residential Care Team. Read on to learn how Tom’s persistent support and confident encouragement helped this patient realize her own potential to make a big change for the better.

A frustrating start

The patient’s diagnosis included challenges such as obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, congestive heart failure, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, and her past medical history included numerous treatments and hospitalizations. When Tom first met her, she had been sedentary for the past few years. The household chores were left to the patient’s daughter, who lived with her; in fact, the patient’s inactivity had reached the point where she would call out to her daughter just to bring her a drink of water from the next room.

Because of these deeply ingrained habits, the patient did not want to introduce physical activity into her lifestyle and expressed her opposition to including exercise in her care plan. In her first physical therapy session, after walking about 20 feet, the patient felt sick and became physically ill. Tom cut the session short to help curb the patient’s frustration.

Keeping hopes high

Tom worried that his patient’s disappointing first physical therapy visit would keep her resistant, and that he would have to negotiate and compromise throughout their sessions. He even worried that the patient would feel so discouraged that she would quit before she could make any progress. In fact, she did call Tom to cancel future therapy, but he was prepared, and ready to convince his patient not to let reluctance and discomfort get the best of her. He engaged his patient in an empathetic conversation about her concerns and personal goals, and eventually his honest encouragement convinced her to give her therapy another try.

A new lease on life

The patient’s progress was slow but steady, not only in physical therapy with Tom, but also with the nurse and occupational therapist on her care team. She gave her all and committed to the entire program, and the results were tremendous. By the end of her plan of care, the patient had made exercise a daily habit — and she was also cooking her own meals, washing dishes, washing and folding laundry, making her own bed, and giving herself sponge baths. Once her home care was complete, she even started going out again for meals with family at her favorite restaurant.

On Tom’s last visit with the patient, she told him sincerely, ‘My life has changed.’ The encouragement of her Residential Home Health Care Team had helped to give her the motivation and tools she needed to gain back much of her independence. Rather than writing her off as simply ‘non-compliant,’ Tom fought to connect with his patient, and being able to make such a difference in her life felt to him like ‘a great blessing.’

To determine whether you or your loved one might benefit from in-home physical therapy or other home care services from Residential Home Health, call (888)930-WELL (9355) to discuss your specific situation with a Home Care Specialist today, or click here to take our Home Care Assessment.