One of the key roles for inpatient physical therapists is to provide
discharge recommendations to the patient, family and treatment team.
Physical therapists are concerned about each patient's safety, both in the
home and in the community. They will ask detailed questions about the home
environment, such as the number of steps leading into the house, in order
to determine if it will be safe for a patient to return home. They will
then simulate the home environment by having the patient walk household
distances and climb stairs, if appropriate. They may also recommend home
physical therapy services and will write a discharge plan of care for the
home therapist. Physical therapists often recommend the use of durable
medical equipment, such as walkers and canes, and assure that this
equipment is ordered prior to discharge.