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Difference Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

Difference Between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy

Occupational therapy and physical therapy look the same from the outside when they are actually very different forms of therapy for different reasons. While they do overlap in some areas, their end goals are different and the method of therapeutic help are also different.

Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy focuses more on the evaluation and improvement of the functional abilities. The occupational therapist will generally not treat a person’s injury directly with manual therapy or acupuncture, as a physical therapist does. Rather, the OT assists in optimizing a person’s independence and ability to complete daily activities after injuries or physical impairment.

The OT will treat injuries directly, however, the bigger picture in occupational therapy is on improvement of life skills and using the tools delivered by the therapist to live a better life. Patients work on improving the ability to complete daily tasks; OT’s are far more likely to perform on-site assessments to discover ways to best help the patient.

Physical Therapy
This type of therapy focuses more on diagnosing and evaluating dysfunctions in movement as well as directly treating the injury. The PT treats the physical issue, such as the bones, injured tissues, or other structures. PT’s will diagnose far more often than OT’s, and will work with the patient in rebuilding or healing structures rather than helping the patient complete daily tasks.

The Overlap
There is overlap between the two professions, such as in the main focus of PT and OT. Both professions will educate patients on how to best prevent or avoid future injuries, and will help patients understand the healing process. PT’s, through the nature of their work, help people increase the ability to complete their daily tasks, as an OT would. There are, in fact, a number of situations where both types of therapists are involved in a person’s care and healing. The Vancouver Home Health Care Agency wants everyone to be educated on the differences in therapies.
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