Duties and responsibilities
A home care physical therapist is a physical therapist who evaluates and treats patients suffering from physical disability in a home care environment. These physical disabilities are often due to injury, disease or surgery. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Interviewing patients and their family members in their home
- Creating individualized treatment plans that can be carried out at home
- Outlining treatment goals and methods to be used
- Assessing patients and monitoring their progress
- Using techniques like functional training and exercise, medication, diet changes, and specialized equipment that is designed to treat and alleviate pain
- Coordinating with other healthcare professionals
- Travelling to different home care settings
Physical therapists will need a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). To get accepted onto this program, you will need a bachelor’s degree and a prerequisite courses, such as anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and physiology.
After graduating, physical therapists may apply to a clinical residency program after graduation. Residencies typically last about 1 year and provide additional training and experience in specialty areas of care. Physical therapists who have completed a residency program may choose to specialize further by participating in a fellowship in an advanced clinical area. The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education has directories of physical therapist residency and fellowship programs.
Skills and relevant work experience
As well as having the physical stamina to be on their feet all day, home care physical therapists need skills such as:
- Problem solving skills, as home care physical therapists will have to overcome issues with treatment programs
- Dexterity, as home care physical therapists will have to use their hands to provide manual therapy and therapeutic exercises
- Compassion and empathy, as working with those recovering from injury or illness requires a deep understanding of their needs and concerns
- Communication skills, as home care physical therapists will need to communicate their ideas to patients and keep written documents up to date
Home care physical therapists tend to work full time. However, there are part time opportunities available. They may also have to work nights or weekends to accommodate to their patients schedule. Generally, they will have to spend a lot of time travelling between different home healthcare settings.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for physical therapists was $89,440 in 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $62,120 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $124,740. Home care physical therapists can expect to earn within this range.
There is great career outlook for all physical therapists and the occupation offers lots of exciting job opportunities and security. Furthermore, home care physical therapists can progress with more experience to becoming self-employed.