How do I get my father physical therapy?

2 answers | Last updated: Nov 23, 2016
Guitar1 asked...

My father has esophageal cancer and has lost a tremendous amount of weight due to the fact he cannot swallow solid foods. He is being fed through a TPN now, he is in need of physical therapy, and I do not know how to go about getting the help he needs. Please help.


Expert Answers

Andrew Putnam, M.D. is a Palliative Care physician at Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University.

The member of the health care team who is usually best equipped to handle this question is a social worker.  There are home care companies who can provide some physical therapy in the home if the patient is physically strong enough but it usually requires a doctor’s order.  Ask your father’s oncologist how to access these services through your hospital or medical facility.


Community Answers

Marciamspt answered...

Home care is definitely the best route here. Although we as physical therapists have to weigh the caloric intake with the caloric expenditure.

What does this mean?

If I am requiring my patient to work off more than he is eating just to make him stronger, I'm doing him a disservice. I'm actually contributing to his weight loss and weakening state.

A physician's order can start the home health care process and your physical therapists can monitor your dad's needs.

Marcia Oliver MSPT, CPT