How to Empower Self-Care in Home Health Patients

For home health patients, performing effective self-care between visits from clinicians is an important part of getting better. But how can clinicians encourage patients in this aspect of care? In this article, we’ll take a look at key strategies for doing so.

Leverage Digital Care to Foster Patient Engagement

Did you know that engaged patients are less likely to visit the emergency room and 30 percent less likely to be readmitted to the hospital following discharge?1 Patient engagement is an essential part of high-quality healthcare. It involves encouraging patients to take an active role in managing their own care, from gathering information and making decisions to communicating with care providers and adhering to treatment plans.

Because patients who are engaged with their care plans and providers are empowered to make proactive decisions about their health, they are more likely to have better outcomes than patients who are less engaged. In fact, a higher perception of self-efficacy after discharge from physical therapy is associated with better perceived clinical improvement, lower pain intensity, and a lower number of physical therapy sessions.2 At the same time, disengaged patients are three times as likely to have unmet medical needs and two times as likely to delay medical care.3

For many home health agencies, digital care tools are becoming an essential strategy for improving patient engagement and empowering self-care in patients, leading to improved outcomes. In fact, patients enrolled in a digital engagement platform after hip and knee surgeries demonstrated a significant reduction in potentially avoidable 90-day costs, a 45.4 percent reduction in 90-day hospital readmissions, and a 54.4 percent reduction in 90-day complications.4

Communicate More Frequently with Patients

Digital care tools such as home exercise programs, telehealth, remote monitoring, and two-way messaging allow for more frequent communication between patients and providers. These tools allow patients to ask questions as they come up and allow providers to check in with them on a regular basis. This helps give patients the information and support they need to manage their conditions between in-person visits.

For example, imagine that an elderly patient has been experiencing falls as he transfers from his walker to his chair and back. His physical therapist sets up a fall prevention strategy and assigns targeted exercises to help the patient improve functional mobility. Through his digital home exercise program, the patient can send his therapist a message if he’s having difficulty with his exercises, and the therapist can respond to him quickly. His therapist is able to view his progress, answer questions, and provide feedback via a telehealth call if there are any concerns. The patient’s falls decrease, and he avoids any injuries that would have required an ED visit.

Provide Effective Patient Education

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), outcomes for patients with chronic conditions are significantly better when patients (and their families) take an active role in their care.5 Yet many high-risk patients, such as those with chronic diseases like COPD, heart failure, and diabetes, don’t have the skills or knowledge they need to effectively manage their condition.

Online patient education can help patients manage their disease and even slow its progression by providing engaging, easy-to-understand information on topics such as:

  • The name of the diagnosed condition, along with symptoms, anticipated tests and treatments, prognosis, and complications.
  • Required medications, schedules, and treatment timeframes.
  • Dietary restrictions, allowances, and recommended menus.
  • Understanding how to exercise safely.
  • When a regular doctor appointment is appropriate versus the emergency room.
  • Energy conservation techniques.
  • Behaviors that improve health such as stopping smoking, reducing alcohol, and managing weight.

Physical therapists can follow up using tools like telehealth and two-way messaging to answer questions from patients and ensure that they are managing their conditions as well as possible, helping to minimize disease progression and avoiding ED and acute care visits.

Improve Patient Satisfaction

When patients have a good relationship with their healthcare provider, their satisfaction and outcomes improve.6 Digital care solutions enhance patient satisfaction in home health by providing convenient access to care. This promotes a sense of connectedness and responsiveness, allowing patients to more easily express their concerns, ask questions, and participate actively in their own care.

Engage Your Patients with MedBridge

MedBridge offers best-in-class digital care solutions that integrate patient engagement and education with innovative technology to help your agency empower patient self-care. We offer:

Home Exercise Program Builder

Engage patients with an easily accessible and customizable library with thousands of video exercises developed by industry professionals.

Patient Education

Help patients understand their diagnosis and rehabilitation plan with engaging education to encourage them to effectively manage their care plan.

Telehealth Virtual Visits

Supplement or replace in-person visits with effective, user-friendly telehealth tools.

MedBridge GO Mobile App and MedBridge Patient Portal

Make access to care easy and convenient by giving patients the choice of participating in their care program via app or online.

Patient Adherence Tracking

Support behavior change with improved communication and deeper understanding of your patients’ actions.


  1. Jack, B. W., Chetty, V. K., Anthony, D., Greenwald, J. L., Sanchez, G. M., Johnson, A. E., Forsythe, S. R., O’Donnell, J. K., Paasche-Olrow, M. K., Manasseh, C., Martin, S., & Culpepper, L. (2009). A reengineered hospital discharge program to decrease rehospitalization. Annals of Internal Medicine, 150(3), 178–187.
  2. Souza, C. M., Martins, J., de Càssia Libardoni, T., & de Oliviera, A. S. (2020). Self-efficacy in patients with chronic musculoskeletal conditions discharged from physical therapy service: A cross-sectional study. Musculoskeletal Care, 18(3), 365–371.
  3. Hibbard, J. H. & Greene, J. (2013). What the evidence shows about patient activation: better health outcomes and care experiences; fewer data on costs. Health Affairs (Project Hope), 32(2), 207–14.
  4. Benjamin I. Rosner, Marc Gottlieb, William N. Anderson, Effectiveness of an Automated Digital Remote Guidance and Telemonitoring Platform on Costs, Readmissions, and Complications After Hip and Knee Arthroplasties, The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 33, Issue 4, 2018.
  5. World Health Organization. (2016). Patient engagement: Technical series on safer primary care.
  6. Patient Engagement HIT (2020). Good Patient-Provider Relationship Proves to Boost Outcomes.