How Can I Get PT for My Dad Who Has Cancer?

Anonymous Question:


Dear Marcia,

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 TPN now through a stomach tube now. He is in need of physical therapy, and I do not know how to go about getting the help he needs. Please help.

Marcia's Answer:

In this specific situation, keep in mind that
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 of health.


There are many patients 'out there' who need home health care and don't know how to go about getting it.

Almost 100% of home health requires a doctors' order for it. This means that you must have a doctor somewhere that you can see now or within 90 days of home health starting to evaluate your need for home health.

You will need to be home bound (Medicare) meaning that it requires a taxing effort to leave your home. This does not include medical appointments, religious outings etc. There are many gray areas regarding the home bound question. Bottom line is that Medicare is not going to pay for someone to come to your home when you can go to their office or clinic.

You must have a skilled need. What's that? A skilled need is one that neither you nor your family members can perform for the betterment of your health, however, you and/or your family member(s) may be required to learn such skills as home health care is temporary and not long term.

If you didn't grab your copy of Home Health Lemons, be sure to grab it now - it offers great insight into how physical therapy pay can affect patient care.

Check out Preventing Home Care - it's over half off right now!

Be sure you know what to expect from a home health physical therapist.

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