National Physical Therapy Month

Shot of an elderly man using an exercise ball to help strengthen his core and better his balance in a nursing home

More than one-third of the estimated 300 million physical therapy sessions each year are for seniors over 65. Nursing and residential care facilities employ 5% of all physical therapists and with good reason: physical therapy for short- or long-term residents can play an important role in overall care.

What is physical therapy (PT)?

Physical therapy (also physiotherapy) is the evaluation and management of patients who have acute or chronic illnesses or injuries that limit their ability to move and do activities in their daily lives. The goal of this healthcare focus is the “restoration or maintenance of sensory and motor abilities to prevent, reverse, or minimize functional limitations/disabilities,” according to [SOURCE].

Physical therapists are the professionals who provide patients with modern, research-based treatments. Physical therapists begin by assessing the patient’s needs and then creating a plan of exercises and movements to help the patient reach their highest levels of daily function. If the person has been hospitalized, PT care begins at bedside and can continue with ongoing care after discharge at home or in a senior living residence. The goal is to support the individual’s goals for recreation, movement, employment, and quality of life.

PT in skilled nursing and assisted living

Every October is National Physical Therapy Month and, according to American Physical Therapists Association President Roger Herr, PT, MPA, it is “an opportunity…to recognize the outstanding impact physical therapists and physical therapist assistants have on society and health care.” Here are five ways that physical therapists help the lives of skilled nursing and assisted living residents.

  1. Partner with doctors and other professionals to design care that addresses each resident’s unique needs.
  2. Help residents build up muscle strength to help manage or slow motor diseases like Parkinson’s and degenerative conditions like arthritis.
  3. Assist with mobility issues through balance and gait training, especially for those recovering from a joint injury such as a hip fracture.
  4. Support those who use wheelchairs in maintaining their range of motion as well as improving abdomen strength for better comfort.
  5. Reduce chronic pain through exercises, and in the process help with depression and sleep disorders.

Physical therapy can do a lot for everyone. Physical therapy can make a profound difference in day-to-day quality of life, including relieving pain, improving strength and balance, aiding in recovery, and reducing risk of additional injury – just to name a few benefits. Charlesgate offers physical therapy as part of our commitment to delivering exemplary care while preserving affordability.

Sources: The Good Body; NIH; VeryWell Health; APTA; Relias.