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Mass General Brigham Home Care Physical Therapist Discusses Role

Physical Therapist Inder Singh, PT, DPT, answers questions about his role on the Mass General Brigham Home Care team.

Mass General Brigham Home Care provides post-acute, medically necessary skilled care to patients to support their recovery from illness or injury, or to manage exacerbations of chronic conditions. A critical component to the success of Mass General Brigham Home Care is the role of physical therapy. Heather O’Sullivan, MS, RN, A-GNP, president of Healthcare at Home, says:

“Physical therapists provide specialized physical examinations of each patient’s functional ability, specifically assessing mobility risks unique to their personal home environment. Within the interdisciplinary care team, the important role of a physical therapist is to design individualized treatment plans to promote a patient’s return to wellness, focusing on pain reduction, improvement in strength, and safe ambulation in their own home. Physical therapists focus heavily on fall prevention strategies in supporting a patient’s return to wellness, as falls are one of the greatest predictors of an undesirable readmission to the hospital setting and increased mortality, especially in the elderly population.”

Inder Singh, PT, DPT, is one such physical therapist. He shares more about his role, background, and motivations.

What inspired you to become a physical therapist?

From an early age, I wanted to contribute positively and make a difference in people's lives. It was just something in me and physical therapy gives me that platform. In my role, I'm able to improve the quality of life among members of our community and that gives me immense happiness on a daily basis. My mother was also a big influence on my career because she's been a yoga instructor for a couple decades. I would see a lot of clients coming to her with different ailments, like backaches and muscle pain. She would teach them various yoga routines and positions that provided relief or improvements. She helped them achieve a better quality of life.

What type of training and education did you complete to become a physical therapist?

I completed a bachelor's program, and the last six months of the program focused on clinical internships and rotations in different fields of medicine like Neurology, Orthopedics, and Cardiology. It was critical to gaining experience in treating patients with various conditions. Following my bachelor’s degree, I completed a doctorate program in physical therapy, which was another three years of education and training. There are actually many different areas of specialization available within the field of physical therapy.

Describe a typical day in the life as a Mass General Brigham Home Care physical therapist?

One of the things that I love most about Home Care is that it lets you decide your own workday with the flexibility to plan it out. I think of my daily routine in four distinct areas. The first area is coordinating and communicating care as a team and with my patients - like phone calls, emails, text messages. As a team, we review messages from the patients’ doctors or other clinicians about the patients we're seeing. This is typically how my day begins. The second area is scheduling out my day. I look at how many patients I have to see and what’s the best travel plan to ensure I can see them all with ample time. Travel is an important element to our roles in Home Care. You need to be smart about planning the shortest travel time so you can give more to your patients. The third area is the actual patient care, being out in the community with the patients and treating them in their homes. Finally, the fourth area in how I wrap up my day with point of care documentation that needs to be updated with the latest patient status, treatment and needs.

In your opinion, what are some of the benefits physical therapy offers, in particular, within the Mass General Brigham Home Care setting?

Physical therapy offers a lot of amazing benefits. For example, reducing or eliminating pain, injury prevention and improving mobility. We have a lot of surgical cases that involve post-surgery recovery, improving balance, preventing falls and better management of overall health conditions. Our goal is to ensure the patient progresses in their recovery at home and does not regress in any way.

I've worked in all kinds of settings, including inpatient and outpatient facilities, and one thing that I love about Home Care is that you get to work closely with the patient in their own environment. When a patient is at home and in their own setting, you are able to understand what their day-to-day life looks like, their reality. For example, being able to understand that a patient needs to go up the stairs to use the bathroom because they don't have a bathroom downstairs. It might seem like a very simple task, but for a lot of people having medical issues, it becomes a really scary task because now they're afraid that if they try to go up the stairs, they might fall and break something. It can cause a patient so much stress and I can help mitigate that. I can actually see what a patient's life looks like and focus on improving their quality of life with very specialized and tailored care to meet their own needs. That’s something that I was never able to do in outpatient or hospital settings. Home Care gives me that opportunity to understand and be able to create a care plan specific to the patient’s needs.

What do you love most about your work?

Everything! But if I have to pick one thing it would be the autonomy I have as a clinician to guide and direct each patient’s treatment. It is up to me and my expertise as a physical therapist to help each patient reach their treatment goals. Physical therapists have a responsibility to lead the way to progress, to monitor for any red flags and communicate accordingly to involve other healthcare professional as needed.

There's nothing more fulfilling than hearing a heartfelt thank you from a patient who is able to walk with less pain or who maybe thought they'd never walk again and is now able to take laps around their house. It is just very motivating in every manner. As a physical therapist, you can help pinpoint the root of the cause and empower the patient to improve their own condition, and sometimes reduce their reliance on pain medication in the process.

Tell us a bit about yourself outside of work.

I just became a father, three and a half months ago. So far, it's going really well. My son’s name is Aiden and he's super cute. He just started laughing a lot - it's just been amazing.


Discover career opportunities at Mass General Brigham Healthcare at Home and learn about why our home-based care providers enjoy working in one of the fastest growing fields in the U.S.

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