So one of the tasks of physical therapists is to sometimes conduct a home evaluation. These are common in the nursing home setting when patients are returning back home. What a home evaluation does is looks for hazards around the home that are going to hinder the progress of the patient once they return home. They help the family prepare for their loved one’s return and helps to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Not every patient receives a home evaluation, but when there is some concern (either by a family member or a member of the rehab team), an evaluation may be ordered. I was fortunate enough to participate in a home evaluation last week.
One of the patients that I have been working closely with, the one with the prosthetic leg… I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned him before, he was heading home but his wife was nervous, not sure if she was going to be able to provide the assistance that would be required of her. We set up a home evaluation to help ease her mind and show both her and her husband, what they can expect when he returns home. He was set to head back home on Friday, so we conducted the home evaluation on the Thursday before. One of the PTA’s was set to conduct the evaluation and was gracious enough to allow me to tag along so I could see what it was all about. We actually took the patient with us to his house where we met his wife and began a walk through of the home. We had the patient get into the house the way he would normally do it when he returns home so he could see any challenges that may exist and work through them with members of his rehab team before having to negotiate these obstacles on his own.
Some of the things that we found he was possibly going to have problems with were the throw rugs on the floors, a loose banister on the stairs leading into the house from the garage and the narrow hallway that would need to be negotiated to get to the den where the patient spends a lot of his time. Lets just say his wheelchair skills are going to be put to the test for sure…. that and the walls may definitely show his presence after a few days.
Overall it was a great way to show the wife how much the patient is able to do on his own and the things that he may need help with. We made some suggestions for making life easier for the two of them and left having eased their minds, I hope! I feel like these home evaluations are a great way to ensure our patients continued success after they no longer need the services of the skilled nursing facility.