Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

HealthStar Home Health provides culturally-relevant healthcare services to traditionally under-served populations. Our healthcare team serves clients in a number of communities, who benefit from the wide range of healthcare services that we provide, including skilled therapies, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. Wanting to provide a glimpse into the skilled therapies we offer, today we take a look at physical therapy and rehabilitation and recently caught up with Nissa Fougner, PT, DPT, COS-C, and Director of Rehabilitation at HealthStar, where she is currently working to grow our team of in-house physical therapists.

Skilled therapy visits are often ordered by a physician to assist in the recovery of an illness, injury, surgery or other disabling event. HealthStar Home Health offers in-home therapies through our own team of therapists as well as partnering with outside contract therapists. We work with each client to help keep them safe and active in their own home while creating individualized goals to get you back on the road to recovery.

Physical therapy (PT) is care which is focused on easing pain and helping the individual move independently, perform daily living functions and overall, live an active and fulfilling life in the home. People of all ages may require physical therapy to treat various health conditions or needs, not limited to:

  • Pain relief
  • Improve mobility
  • Recovery from a sports injury
  • Rehabilitation after a stroke, accident or surgery
  • Improve balance to prevent falls
  • Bowel and bladder control
  • Using assistive medical equipment, such as a walker or cane

When a patient has received a referral from a physician for skilled therapy services, HealthStar Home Health works with the patient and knows what discipline is required. A nurse, home health aide or skilled therapist will then visit the patient and create a care calendar depending on the services needed and extent. Each situation is unique and some patients may require different professionals to tend to the patient at different times of the rehabilitation and treatment.

When invited into the home of a patient to provide care, HeathStar Home Health and our professionals understand the need to be respectful of their wishes and environment. This allows us the opportunity to create a positive relationship with our patients. As Fougner says, “Seeing a client in their own home environment allows us to make a positive impact in their care and rehabilitation. The focus of homecare is to improve the client’s quality of life and being able to provide care in the individual’s home allows us to assess the real time picture of the setting so we can offer the best care for each environment.”

The relationship built with each client is an important piece of the care and rehabilitation process. There are some clients who are not able to leave their home due to physical, emotional and mental limitations. Nissa and her team of physical therapy assistants (PTAs), as well as the other skilled therapists who may be involved, are sensitive to each individual’s situation and possible limitations and work with each and every patient with care and respect to ensure a positive impact. Our professionals listen to the patient, gently guide and motivate, and encourage the individual to reach goals throughout their treatment.

HealthStar Home Health understands how overwhelming and challenging it can be to care for a loved one at home and also offer a variety of home health care services to help support your loved one to live a more independent and fulfilling life at home. To learn more about the various skilled nursing, skilled therapies, and mental health services available, visit our website.

With cultural care values as the foundation, our caregivers are able to provide quality service, delivering it with increased awareness and perspective. As we serve our clients and communities, we are motivated by our desire to bring services to everyone in need. Call us today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a no-charge consultation.

HHH Nissa Fogner2
Nissa Fougner, PT, DPT, COS-C, and Director of Rehabilitation at HealthStar Home Health. She has a certification in Oasis, a comprehensive assessment Medicare data collection tool used for data collection management.


Infusion Therapy

Infusion therapy refers to administering medication through a needle or catheter and is typically prescribed when a patient’s condition does not allow effective treatment with oral medication. Home health care nurses commonly administer therapies intravenously to deliver medications, for blood transfusions, for fluid replacement, or to correct electrolyte imbalance and is also used for chemotherapy. Intravenous therapy is the fastest way to deliver fluids and medications throughout the body.

There are several different types of access devices used to infuse medications. The type of access device that a patient has is based on the type of therapy, length of therapy and pH of the drug to be infused.  Here are some examples of the types of devices our home health care nurses work with:

  • A peripheral access device is a short IV (less than 2 inches) inserted into veins in the arm or hand. This type of IV is used for short term therapies and needs to be changed after 3 to 4 days or as needed.
  • A central vascular access device is inserted into large veins in the central circulation like the jugular vein. This type of line is used for patients with long term therapy and can remain in place for over a year.
  • Peripherally inserted central catheters are placed in the basilic, brachial or cephalic veins of the upper arm. These lines are inserted by a specially trained nurse or interventional radiologist. They are placed in the hospital and an X-ray is needed to confirm placement in the lower third of the superior vena cava. These lines can remain in place for weeks to a year if tolerated.
  • The port-a-cath is implanted subcutaneously and provides access to the central circulatory system. The port-a-cath is accessed by the nurse with a special needle to provide samples for labs or for infusion. Ports are used primarily for oncology patients or long term therapies.

The most common therapies HealthStar Home Health nurses work with in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and throughout Minnesota are:

  • Anti-infective therapy – treats post-op infections, infected wounds, sepsis, diverticulitis or any other type of infection
  • Total parenteral nutrition therapy – for clients unable to take in nutrition orally due to bowel issues or swallowing problems
  • IVIG therapy – treats primary immunodeficiency diseases
  • Hydration fluid therapy – treats hyperemesis of pregnancy or patients with severe nausea
  • IV steroid therapy – to treat exacerbations of Multiple Sclerosis

For patients with cancer, we provide chemotherapy disconnects in the home. The patient must go to the hospital or oncology clinic to have the chemo infusion started, but once the treatment is complete a HealthStar Home Health nurse can remove the access device. Our nurses also educate patients on enteral feeding, which is nutrition administered through a tube inserted in the stomach or jejunum portion of the colon, as well as wound care including wound VAC care.

Our home health nurses provide teaching in the home for most therapies so the clients can monitor their own infusions. Infusion therapy in the home allows the client to spend less time in or at the hospital or infusion center. The teaching process is set up to be very user friendly with simplified educational materials that enable lay people to become proficient at administering their IV infusions and alleviate their fears of IV therapy.

Our skilled nurses then see these clients weekly or as needed for lab draws and sterile dressing changes of their IV devices. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for on-call problems with therapy or device problems. Common questions or problems can include inflammation of the vein, occlusions of the devices, skin irritation, compromised dressings or adverse reactions to the IV medication.

At HealthStar Home Health, our home health professionals provide unparalleled public health care services through stewardship, honor-driven values, and a genuine desire to serve. Our Minnesota clients benefit from the range of healthcare services we provide, from Alzheimer’s and dementia care, to behavioral nursing, home health care nursing, respite care and more. HealthStar Home Health has a team of nurses dedicated to IV infusion. We work with several infusion companies and pharmacies to provide IV services to our patients in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area and throughout Minnesota. IV infusion therapy is our passion and we provide services to a wide range of ages and cultures by developing culturally-relevant services while identifying barriers to care, and launching culture-specific care and prevention programs.

At HealthStar Home Health, we help make strong communities and families in the Twin Cities metro area by enabling individuals of all ages to live more independent and fulfilling lives. Contact us today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a consultation at no charge.