Physiotherapy and rehabilitation in care
In our latest blog, our Care Manager, and qualified Physiotherapist, Jo Lambert discusses how physiotherapy can further support people who require care to remain in their own homes.
It’s said that home is where the heart is and that is certainly the case for many people as they undergo a period of treatment at hospital or care at a rehabilitation unit.
The desire to get back home, to familiar surroundings and the positive memories they trigger, can be paramount and make an enormous difference to the mental wellbeing of a person and consequently the quality of life they enjoy.
Local authorities also recognise that often the best solution is to provide a package of support that enables people to live in their own homes – rather than have to move into residential care. It’s also a far less costly alternative for whoever picks up the bill.
Physical aids such as wheelchair access, handrails and stairlifts can all help overcome barriers to independent living, however it is the mobility and strength of the individual that may have the greatest bearing on whether they can realistically remain in their own home.
Caremark recognises that home care support is not simply about doing a range of tasks for a customer – it’s also about encouraging and assisting the customer to be able to carry out tasks for themselves.
This use of physiotherapy alongside a care and support package is now being increasingly recognised as beneficial. That’s both in the sense of improved strength of the customer and also the mental buzz gained from an individual knowing their efforts and actions are directly contributing to their ability to remain in their own home.
Physiotherapy has brought about a step change in the way we look at care. Support is not simply about doing everything for the customer, instead it’s about enabling people to carry out the tasks they are capable of and, in doing so, maintain mobility and the ability to live in their own homes.
If someone has been in hospital and rehab following a fall, when they return home the aim is to at least maintain the level of mobility they have and hopefully, gradually, to enable people to become stronger and fitter and actually reduce the package of support required.
Getting out of bed unaided can be a start, then try putting on socks or trousers, that bending and flexing of limbs all goes towards building vital muscles. Being able to get up out of a chair, walk across a room and make a cup of tea is good exercise that helps maintain movement.
For loving relatives, the temptation to “do everything” can be overwhelming. It takes discipline not to leap out of a chair, tell mum to stay where she is and make the cuppa for her. That’s why Caremark ensures relatives are closely involved in drawing up any plan.
We aim to support people to live in their own home with their own individual care package. We receive initial information from the family or the local authority but then spend 2-4weeks carrying out our own assessment and, in discussion with the customer, making any necessary changes to the care plan so home life is as comfortable and long term as possible.
Small steps can see gradual sustained improvement in mobility. It might start with something as simple as setting the customer a target of being able to brush their own teeth or open a jar of marmalade for breakfast.
The plan can then utilise the particular interests of each customer as a further way of improving mobility. Can you water plants indoors or enjoy a walk into the garden? One customer was a keen painter, so getting to the point where they could set up an easel was a landmark moment.
Broken bones can leave a physical and mental scar and rehabilitation can be a long road. With each step our care assistants are on hand to motivate and support, with the customer encouraged to play as active a role as is feasible in returning to and maintaining their independent life.