The profession of occupational therapy (OT) is often confused with physical therapy (PT). Both health care professionals are often seen working in similar settings and seem like they are working on the same things. However, the scope of practice for an OT and PT are vastly different. Both OT and PT may be on an individual’s health care team to provide the best outcome and recovery possible.
How is OT different from Physical Therapy (PT)?
OT is unique and focuses on:
Getting the person back to a functional level to participate in daily activities
The goal of OT is not to restore person’s abilities back to 100% because that is more than functional
OT wants help others engage in meaningful activities
Assessing and treating for physical, psychosocial, behavioral, cognitive, or sensory skills in addition to motor difficulties
Focus on things that impact the person’s ability to perform daily activities
OT can focus on pain management
OT can educate individual on use of adaptive equipment
PT focuses on:
Coping with pain and managing it
Increasing and restoring range of motion back to original level
Developing motor skills after an injury
Can evaluate people for adaptive equipment (walkers, canes, other assistive devices)
Click Here to see an example case study infographic for further understanding:
In this fictional scenario, we will explore how an OT and PT would work together with Mrs. Smith and her family.
After reading the case study on Mrs. Smith, OT works differently with her by:
Looking at her more holistically and helping her functionally complete her daily activities
OT treats the patient as a whole person and not just what physically affects them