Since physical and occupational therapy is hands-on rehabilitation, many people mistakenly consider these to be the same. Physical and occupational therapists can work in different settings, such as primary care, outpatient and inpatient divisions, long-term care, institutions, home care environments, and nursing homes. These specialties, however, are different from each other. While the job duties of both professions differ, physical and occupational therapists often work together on teams. When choosing which healthcare strategy is the best course of action for patients, it's essential to know the differences between physical and occupational therapy.
Physical therapy focuses on examining and diagnosing injury and dysfunction. Its purpose is to restore, retain, and improve the mobility, function, and well-being of the patient. Numerous exercises and stretches can be part of physical therapy. Moreover, it often involves therapeutic techniques to soothe pain or help with blood flow, flexibility, or edema reduction. Physical therapy generally includes heat, ice, thermal therapy, electrical stimulation, massage, and more. Patients generally are given exercises to do at home apart from the PT sessions.
Occupational therapy focuses on helping patients do daily tasks at work and home, as well as during leisure time, such as eating, dressing, and using the restroom. Occupational therapy considers how physical, emotional, and environmental conditions influence a person's performance and abilities. Therapists may modify an activity's techniques or help people adapt their physical and motor abilities to execute a specific activity. OTs can also help in self-improvement by promoting healthy coping techniques.
The Job of Physiotherapists
Physiotherapists can use hands-on manual techniques, rehabilitative exercise, training, heat/cold/light/water massage, acupuncture, and other modalities to restore and recover the function of many body systems. Their job includes-
● Having discussions with patients to understand their symptoms and physical condition
● Performing physical therapy assessments following APTA criteria
● Creating a patient treatment plan
● Instructing patients in therapeutic exercise methods
● Using massage or electrical stimulation to speed up the healing process
● Helping patients using exercise equipment
● Keeping track of patient records
● Monitoring patient goals and progress
● Measure flexibility and strength
● Offering options for treatments and activities at home
The Job of an Occupational Therapist
Occupational therapists will review a person's living or workplace environment and recommend tools or lifestyle modifications to enhance daily activities. Also, they can speak about mental wellness and cognitive function. Their job roles generally include the following-
● Evaluating the patient's functional capacities, including their sensory, cognitive, emotional, and physical aspects
● Planning a course of treatment
● Guiding the patient toward the objectives outlined in the treatment plan
● Developing and using assistive technology to increase independence in daily tasks
● Helping patients acquire the fine motor skills they need for important daily tasks, like dressing or writing checks
● Working with people who experience memory loss or other cognitive problems
● Providing patients with home exercises and guidelines for ongoing therapy
In terms of healthcare plan, physical and occupational therapy often overlaps. Both, however, contribute unique and essential factors to a client's recovery. Emotional, mental, and physical conditions are necessary for a person's well-being. It is essential to consider all these factors to help patients reach their health goals. Rather than focusing on the differences between these two therapy types, it is more important to understand that both are important roles in treating various clinical problems while the patients are on their way to recovery.