The value of physical therapy in hospice care: How it can help

January 30, 2023

Healthy Aging Physical Therapy
Senior elderly Asian woman with medical caregiver or physical therapist helping patient holding dumbbell

People regularly undergo physical therapy (PT) after getting injured or having surgery that limits their ability to move and perform everyday tasks. Physical therapists use exercise and movement to help improve their patient’s quality of life by increasing functionality and reducing pain. Healthy people can use PT exercises to regain muscle function and get back to the activities they love. 

More recently, physical therapists have increasingly worked with people in hospice care (end-of-life care). “People in hospice care can use PT to help improve patient safety and comfort, such as for safe transfer and enhanced bed mobility,” explains Kassen Khreis, M.D., board certified Hospice and Palliative Care physician with Riverside Health System.

Benefits of physical therapy during hospice

Physical therapy offers many benefits for people in hospice care, including:

  • Boosts quality of life
  • Improves comfort
  • Improves patient and caregiver safety
  • Maximizes mobility

Role of PT during hospice care

A physical therapist can work with a person in hospice care to:

  • Determine a patient’s ability to move around safely
  • Enhance a patient’s ability to get in and out of bed or chair
  • Extend a patient’s level of independence 
  • Modify the home environment to accommodate a patient’s needs
  • Reduce the burden on other health care providers and caregivers
  • Support a patient’s ability to safely use the bathroom and bathe

Using PT to improve quality of life

Many people in hospice care and their families have reaped the benefits of using PT. “Using physical therapy can help the individual and their caregivers move around more safely and complete daily activities with more confidence and ease,” explains Khreis. 

Learn more about hospice

To learn more about Riverside Health System Hospice, please call 757-594-2745.

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