What is the difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy?
I am interested in a career with working with people who have disabilities. I want to help people become more independent. I am curious which field I should look into. #doctor #health #physical-therapist #doctorate-degree #physical-therapy #occupational-therapy
Occupational therapy is more about helping patients do various tasks, some of problems accomplishing them may involve not just impaired motor skill, for example getting dressed or feeding oneself after a brain injury can be impaired not just because of a paralysis of a hand or arm, but because a patient may not understand or recall how to do these tasks. So occupational therapists focus on regaining these abilities. Physical therapy is focused on recovering physical strength and motor skills after an injury. Both require rigorous study post high school to pursue
Occupational therapy is about the holistic view of the patient. We're looking at how the patient was living their life before a diagnosis or where in their lifespan they are in and helping them improve their quality of life with adaptive equipment to make ADLs easier and maximize their independence and participation in leisure activities. Physical therapy is looking at the patient and what they are physically capable of such as walking and bed mobility, and educating the patient on ways to make it easier and also using exercise and body mechanics to improve the body.
A physical therapist treats the patients impairment by helping the patient with mobility, as an example, after a knee replacement surgery.
An occupational therapist teaches the patient how to do things, even with the impairment. Say for instance a patient had both legs amputated. The OT would assist the patient in using tools such as the 'grabber' to still perform daily functions as independently as possible.
There are many settings that an Occupational Therapist can work in. In most out-patient settings, an occupational therapist evaluates and treats/rehabilitates injuries to upper extremities, especially hands. The Physical Therapist works with the other body parts. The Occupational Therapist is also more skilled fabricating many of the splints that are used to stabilize upper extremity injuries while they recover. Both occupations work with people with disabilities, just depends what setting you work in, i.e. orthopedics, hospital, rehabilitation center, children, etc.