Occupational vs. Physical Therapy

By Annette Bratcher, 8:00 am on

Both occupational and physical therapy can be great resources for seniors that suffer from mobility problems, have difficulty with activities of daily living, or are recovering from an illness or injury. Sometimes the doctor may prescribe a single therapy, other times, they may prescribe both. To help seniors and family caregivers in Denton County understand why a certain therapy regimen was prescribed, we’re going to explore the differences between the two.

Evaluation and Diagnosis

A primary consideration when looking at these two types of therapies is evaluation and diagnosis. Physical therapists evaluate and diagnose problems that can be corrected or somewhat corrected through therapy. Occupational therapists evaluate and diagnose the impact that a health condition has on the life of the senior that can be altered through therapy.

Treatment for Disorders

One of the biggest differences in physical therapy and occupational therapy, secondary to evaluation and diagnosis, involves treatments of problems. Physical therapy is aimed at treating and improving a specific condition, such as muscle weakness for example. Occupational therapy differs in that it is not intended to treat the condition. Rather, the goal is to make activities of daily living and functioning possible even with the problem.

Functional Limitations

A concept that physical and occupational therapies share is accepting functional limitations and working with them. Therapists want to restore the highest level of independence possible, understanding that a curative approach is not always possible. Therefore, safety is always the forefront, not necessarily “making someone well again.”

Other Important Considerations

These are just a few things that the doctor takes into consideration when prescribing either or both therapies. While both therapies can be very beneficial, they are not always prescribed together. For example, limitations associated with a specific disease process can be addressed by occupational therapy but physical therapy may not help to improve the underlying condition.

If your aging loved one has recently been diagnosed with an advanced condition or requires post-hospital home care in Denton County, contact Home Care Assistance today. Our caregivers are highly trained and can help seniors carry out therapy plans recommended by health care professionals. For more information, contact a Care Manager today at 972-468-6010 and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.