Career Story: In-Home Physical Therapist

In-Home Physical Therapist

Job Title: Physical Therapist

Type of Company: I provide home care medical services to patients who are unable to leave their home

Education: BS, Physical Therapy, University of Vermont

Previous Experience: I worked in a rehabilitation clinic for a couple of years, an acute-care hospital for nine and am now doing home care.

Job Tasks: These are the things that I routinely do on a work day: check in with the office, schedule visits by phone, discuss cases with other health care providers and return and make phone calls. Once I've done with all that, I drive to patients' homes and give them physical therapy based on medical information I've received from their doctors and my own independent assessments. I generally see five patients a day and drive an average of 25 miles. It's unusual, but not unheard of, for me to do in-home trouble shooting too: checking medications, monitoring vital signs and contacting family members or other Visiting Nurses Association staff as the situation dictates.

After I've finished my rounds, I have to make notes and fill out paperwork. Every two months, there are special Medicare forms that I have to complete that pave the way for further funding. Monthly staff meetings and educational in-services are an additional, persistent obligation. I'm also called on to act as chaperone to patients who are leaving the hospital. And I sometimes have to brief them on the care that they will need to get at home. Fortunately, there is always someone in the office for me to discuss things with, either in person or by phone.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best thing about this job is being on the road all day. It's great to set your own schedule and adjust it as needed. And one nice bonus is that on a beautiful day you can take your patients outside for therapy and enjoy the day with them!

But because you're on your own, you've got to be confident and skillful; making medical decisions, on your own and unaided, can be very very stressful.

Job Tips:
1.) Brace yourself for a lot of schooling; a Ph.D now required. 2.) To determine what aspect of therapy you like best, try to get experience at a bunch of different venues. 3.) Get your feet wet first: try to get some experience in the field before you to commit to all that schooling.

Additional Thoughts: To be a physical therapist you have to be a "people" person and an independent thinker and a problem solver. If you are, though, the opportunities are endless.

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