>> Differences between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy
Differences between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy
People often ask "what is the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?"
Both professions are health care related, both have many similarities like assisting patients in regaining the ability to perform everyday functions, and many times the 2 will collaborate while providing care for patients.
However, each profession has a different focus.
The occupational therapist is trained to modifying the physical environment as well as training the person to use assistive equipment to increase independence. They focus to help their patients engage in meaningful activities of daily living (ADLs).
The physical therapist is trained to identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment/intervention, and rehabilitation. They focus on the physical, psychological, emotional, and social well-being.
As an example: an occupational therapist is often involved in educating people on how to prevent and avoid injuries, as well as educating people about the healing process. Physical therapists in turn often help people improve their ability to do their daily activities through education and training. While there is this crossover between professions both play very important roles and are more specialized in their areas of expertise.
In many situations, both types of health-care professional are involved in injury recovery.
Physical and occupational therapy is a booming field in the healthcare industry. Both professions require special certification and a post-bachelor's degree to practice.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of OTs in the work force is expected to increase by 26 percent between 2008 and 2018, and the number of PTs is expected to increase by 30 percent.
Check out the following video explaining some of the differences between occupational and physical therapist:
Occupational Therapists (OTs) get patients back to doing everyday tasks.
Occupational therapy focuses more on evaluating and improving a persons functional abilities. An occupational therapist often does not directly treat a person's injury using techniques such as manual therapy or acupuncture like a physical therapist would but more commonly helps a person optimize their independence and their ability to accomplish their daily activities following an injury or in situations of physical impairment.
While occupational therapists sometimes do directly treat injuries, occupational therapy tends to be more focused on improving life skills and often involves adaptive tools at times customized by the therapist.
Helping people improve their ability to carry out their daily tasks is a prime goal of the occupational therapist. An OT is more likely to perform on-site assessments of both the home environment and work environment and give recommendations on suitable adaptations of each to allow for a better quality of life.
For those with permanent disabilities, OTs are invaluable in demonstrating the use of equipment such as wheelchairs, eating and dressing aids. They also can design and build special equipment that will help improve their patients' lives at home and at work.
Work settings for occupational therapists include public schools, hospitals, private clinics, community health centers, industrial health centers, mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, pediatric centers, research institutions or colleges and universities.
Physical Therapists (PTs) assist patients with movement. Physical therapy focuses more on evaluating and diagnosing movement dysfunctions as well as treating a persons injury itself.
While an occupational therapist can also do diagnosis, the physical therapist will be more likely to diagnose and treat the physical source of the problem; the injured tissues and structures.
A physical therapist may be trained more extensively on anatomy and the musculoskeletal system resulting in a physical therapist often being as or more knowledgeable about musculoskeletal injuries and rehabilitation than a general practitioner medical doctor. Occupational therapists also undergo extensive studies of anatomy, often is equal to that undertaken by physical therapists.
Work settings for physical therapists include hospitals, private clinics, community health centers, industrial health centers, sports facilities, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, home health agencies, schools or pediatric centers, research institutions or colleges and universities.