There is a funny blog item out there in which Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) are filing for divorce. While the piece is satirical, the message is clear. The two therapies have long been paired together, often appearing inseparable, but in fact their differences are defining. And while many of us have encountered PT along the way, OT does not always get the attention it so rightfully deserves.
The primary difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy is that OT focuses on improving a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) and PT focuses on improving a person’s ability to perform movement of the human body. One might say that PT gets you out the door and OT gets you to the door.
Activities of daily living are such things as getting out of bed, getting dressed, feeding oneself, brushing teeth or hair, going to the bathroom, getting into a car. Things many of us do every day without even thinking. Activities of daily life can become compromised after an injury, illness, surgery, or as a normal part of the aging process as strength and mobility may change. This is where OT comes in.
Occupational Therapists are trained in therapeutic modalities to help people find ways to retain their activities of daily living. OTs also have knowledge of equipment and adaptations that make life easier and more manageable. “As an Occupational Therapist,” says Melissa Woodhouse, MOT, OTR/L, director of RVNA’s non-medical caregiving services, “it is my job and my challenge to help individuals retain their functionality and independence. There are many ways to achieve this and there is nothing more gratifying to a patient, and more rewarding to me, than helping someone continue to accomplish tasks that are instrumental to living their life.”
Whether it’s through a home assessment that recommends home adaptations or tweaks; therapeutic exercises and ‘tricks’ to accomplish everyday tasks in new ways; or adaptive equipment to make an activity ‘do-able,’ occupational therapy exists to maintain and enhance day-to-day living.
And while OT in combination with PT is often a powerful combination, OT on its own can also have a remarkable impact.
To learn more about RVNA and Occupational Therapy, call 203-438-5555.
# # #
# # #
# # #