Once you have been discharged from the hospital, your therapist(s) may recommend that you continue therapy. This is referred to as 'outpatient' rehabilitation. You will travel back and forth between your home and the rehab facility to receive therapy. Depending on your needs, your outpatient therapy can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech-language therapy. You may even need all three. Do not let this be discouraging! We know that rehabilitation is difficult, but we want the absolute best outcome for you. We admire your strength and your resilence to overcome the obstacles that have been placed in your path. You push us to be better therapists and nurses and doctors, so do not give up on your recovery!
In the out-patient setting, physical therapists typically focus on specific body parts or impairments. Physical therapists evaluate and treat patients based on individualized deficits present-whether that be stemming from an orthopaedic injury, or an underlying neuromuscular deficit. Physical therapists in the out-patient setting use a variety of techniques and modalities to treat patients including but not limited to therapeutic exercise, neuromuscular re-education, soft tissue/joint mobilization, and/or use of modalities such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, heat/cold and dry needling.
Patients are typically seen in an out-patient clinic for 30-45 minute sessions, ranging from 3-5 visits per week. In addition, patients are usually given some form of a home exercise program to follow on days in which they are not coming to the clinic to be treated.
Although it is common for out-patient physical therapy clinics to focus on orthopaedic related dysfunction or injury, there are several other out-patient services available to patients as well. Additional out-patient physical therapy services can include pre-operative education/exercise (typically for planned surgeries such as total joint replacements), vestibular rehabilitation, women's health, lymphedema management, wheelchair seating/mobility and community re-integration.
Physical therapy will focus on the following areas:
- Strength training
- Balance/Falls risk
- Bed mobility & transfers
- Walking with and without use of assistive device (e.g., cane or walker)
- Return to work, school, hobbies
The primary goal of occupational therapy is to enhance safety and independence in life activities. Occupational therapists perform a comprehensive evaluation and customized treatment plans.
Occupational therapy will focus on the following areas:
Activities of Daily Living:
- Walking, getting out of bed or to chair
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living:
- Making chores list
- Grocery Shopping
- Balancing a Checkbook
- Upper extremity function
- Perceptual-motor function
- Vision/visual perception
- Driver evaluation and training
- Community reintegration
- Patient/family education
The primary goal of speech-language pathology services is the development of the speech, language, cognitive, and swallowing skills necessary to resume the highest level of functioning possible in returning to social, academic, and vocational settings.
Speech-language pathology services will focus on the following areas:
- Assistive technology
- Auditory comprehension
- Planning & Organizing
- Reasoning & Problem Solving
- Social Interaction Skills
- Spoken & written language skills
- Speech Production