I've received several questions from PT's/PTA's that are flirting with the idea of transitioning into home health. If you're considering a change too...don't worry...you're not alone. Home health is an exciting setting due to the many perks that come with the territory. However, a transition into home health can be scary as there's not much out there in terms of info on what it's like to be a home health PT/PTA.
I know. I've been there and took the leap into the unknown. When I started home health, I thought it was the end of my career. "There goes all of my clinical skills and knowledge."
That's not necessarily the case. Here are my thoughts on transitioning into home health. I hope this is helpful for you that are considering a change as well.
I've never been able to better connect with the people I serve like with home health. With many patients, you basically become a part of the family. For me, this has resulted in improved compliance, potentially better outcomes, and several nights of sharing meals/drink with my wife and some of my former patients. :)
This involves the patient's physical deficits...but also includes many social and environmental factors that have HUGE implications in our success with patients.
My treatment sessions are also very challenging as I have to make due with the situation at hand. This has resulted in some very creative treatment sessions that utilize what we have to work with in the patient's home.
I have learned more in the past couple years than I could have ever dreamed of before switching to home health. WHATEVER THE TOPIC, there's an easy to consume audio resource out there for you. Here's some inspiration if you want to grow in your rehab skills/knowledge.
In home health, every day is different. I see all kinds of different homes, different neighborhoods, different people. This has helped my job stay more fresh and exciting compared to previous positions I've had.
Now I don't want you to think the grass is always greener on the other side. Here's "The Bad" of home health rehab.
However, I do believe this is a CHOICE. If you are driven to stay sharp and well-rounded as a clinician, you CAN stay current in home health. But you have to work for it. It's not going to happen naturally.
It's SO easy to get lazy and be complacent with mediocre assessments and treatment interventions. However, don't think this is due to the setting. It's typically a result of the clinician. There are many clinicians and companies that continue to grow sharper in their knowledge and skillset. Take Fox Rehabilitation for example..
For me, this has actually been humbling and eye opening. I really don't mind the difficult patient situations. These situations have helped me be more grateful for what I do have...rather than what I don't have. I've also been able to connect with people that are VERY different from me which I think is a healthy thing to have in your life. This would've been very difficult otherwise.
I view my schedule as a game. How can I see as many patients as possible and drive as little as possible? I enjoy it, but it can be frustrating sometimes.
Is home health for you?
I feel many people say "No" before they ever fully consider this question.
But you're going to have to answer this question for yourself.
Home health is kind of this Wild West Frontier that few get exposed to in school and in our careers. Yet, as I've made the leap into this unique setting, I've found great joy in my work as a home health PT and am excited for the years to come.
If you have any specific questions in regards to home health and a possible transition, please contact me. I'd love to help.