Physical Therapy

Eunice K. Neubauer, CSA

October is Physical Therapy Month Twin Cities MNOctober is not only breast cancer awareness month but also national physical therapy month.   How much do you know about physical therapy?

Physical therapy is common when a person has had a hospitalization. It often takes place in a rehabilitation setting or transitional care unit.  This therapy is typically covered by Medicare after a 3 day stay in the hospital.  And when a person transfers home or to a new setting there is therapy that comes in to continue to improve function. Again, this therapy is paid by Medicare.   Physical therapy can occur in a variety of settings such as hospitals, outpatient clinics, private practices, nursing homes, health agencies but also your home. Many senior living options today have a partnership with a physical therapy company and they office onsite in their building.

There are different types of physical therapy; post-operative care, cardiovascular and pulmonary rehab, lymphedema management, wound care, and neurological rehabilitation to name some of the more common ones for older adults and there is also therapy to treat vertigo.

Today there are advanced degrees in physical therapy as we learn more and more about the human body. It is not uncommon that physical therapists have a doctorate degree.  In the past a therapist had a bachelor’s degree.  Today most graduate programs offer an entry-level 3 year doctorate of physical therapy DPT degree. Physical therapists have to pass a medical board exam in order to obtain their license to treat patients.

Therapy can help you if you are motivated to improve.  Often, I see therapy stopping too soon.   Know that you can continue therapy if you foot the bill even if a Medicare approved agency needs to stop.  This is becoming more common with aging seniors.  The cost of more physical therapy can be much less than the cost of paying for assisted living or more care if already in a senior living community. There are more and more small businesses that deliver physical therapy in your home where you pay privately for this expertise. If you are one to hire a personal trainer, why not hire a personal physical therapist? They will work with you to tailor a program just for your needs.

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