Learn The Differences Between Outpatient & School-Based Physical Therapy!

  • January 13, 2016

Physical therapy is an effective type of treatment that a patient needs to workaround health problems that affect their ability move around and perform everyday tasks. These daily tasks can include anything from going up stairs, walking or getting out of bed.

Occupational physical therapy, as you have already heard of it, is suitable for people of all ages whose everyday life has been affected by mental health, cognitive and/or physical health problems. The therapists who provide these treatments will use everyday activities (occupations) in a therapeutic and purposeful manner to obtain a desired level of functioning for the patient to perform their tasks and roles in daily living, be it self-care or for leisure.

Now, let’s take a look at two other forms of physical therapy which are outpatient and school-based. Read on to find out more about their differences!

What is outpatient physical therapy?

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Outpatient physical therapy is basically known as a rehabilitative and medically based form of therapy. They can be used after medical procedures such as Botox treatments and surgery to maximize gains within a short period of time. If a child has sustained an injury, he or she can also use this form of therapy to regain their previous level of functioning.

Outpatient physical therapy is also needed when a parent feels that their child has certain areas of need that is outside of what a school is assigned to address, for example, going for a family hike. In some cases where a child does not qualify for school based services, concerned parents can opt for outpatient alternatives to improve the quality of their child’s movements and motor skills.

In general, an outpatient center can be identified by the occupational and speech therapies they offer. There will be an outpatient team that is available to address your child’s needs as well. In centers like these, the outpatient therapists also have access to a wide spectrum of rehabilitative equipment such as pulley strengthening and electrical stimulation systems; and gym equipment such as treadmills and lite gait trainers.

What is school-based physical therapy?

School-based physical therapy is not designed to replace any rehabilitative or medical physical therapy services. The services that it offers are based on the child’s needs and ability to access the grade level curriculum. Goals will be set according to the child’s ability to participate. While it is not solely on the quality of the movement patterns, participation could also mean climbing the stairs safely without an alternating pattern.

School based PT is also a related service to special education and it is designed to improve a child’s participation within a school setting and increase their overall independence. This is to ensure that their disabilities will not deny them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes on special education and other related services to meet their unique needs and prepare them for future employment.

If you are unsure what your child needs, you will want to speak with a certified therapist first to ensure that they receive the correct type of physical therapy that will benefit them in the long run.

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