Physical therapists and physical therapy assistants assist patients recover from surgery, injury and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to restore maximal functional independence to each individual patient. To achieve this goal, physical modalities such as manual therapy, heat, cold, electricity and massage are used. It is offered to a wide variety of patients of all ages. Physical therapy is useful in treating many different medical disorders. Sport and orthopaedic injuries as well as neurological and muscular conditions are some examples in which physical therapy plays a role in the treatment process.
Physical therapy services are provided by physical therapists, who are licensed healthcare professionals with an advanced degree in physical therapy. Physical therapists evaluate, diagnose and manage the physical therapy treatment plan, customizing it to each individual patient's needs.
Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants help people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities. Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities to participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury to regain skills and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Occupational therapy services typically include:
- An individualized evaluation, during which the patient/family and occupational therapist determine therapy goals
- Customized intervention to improve the patient’s ability to perform daily activities and reach the goals
- An outcomes evaluation to ensure that the goals are being met and/or make changes to the treatment plan.
Occupational therapy services may include comprehensive evaluations of the client’s home and other environments (e.g., workplace, school), recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers.
Speech Therapy focuses on receptive language, or the ability to understand words spoken to you, and expressive language, or the ability to use words to express yourself. It also deals with the mechanics of producing words, such as articulation, pitch, fluency, and volume. Patients may need speech therapy after a stroke or traumatic accident that changes their ability to use language.