Question Rashi Health

Physical Therapy in outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation services

Compare and contrast the role of the physical therapist in the outpatient setting with the inpatient setting.

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Answer Internal Staff

Physical therapists (PTs) are healthcare professionals that work with patients who have suffered disease or injury that limits their mobility and ability to perform functional activities. They can achieve this through a variety of treatment techniques that aim to relieve pain, restore function and mobility, and prevent disability. Inpatient rehabilitation is predominantly aimed towards people who require intensive recovery i.e. those who have been in a serious accident and have lost the use of basic functions, or need to relearn how to walk. It is the most effective form of physical therapy as the patient has constant access to medical professionals and the patient is able to focus solely on their physical therapy through intensive treatments. Outpatient therapy can provide the benefits of physical therapy, without committing to inpatient rehabilitation. In outpatient services, patients can only access physical therapy during opening hours limiting their access to medical professionals/ treatments. However, many benefits of outpatient therapy have been found; it gives patients the ability to work on exercises in the comfort of their own home, giving the patient more control over their progression. Both services have their disadvantages; inpatient care requires a timely commitment resulting in patients being away from family members for an extended period of time although inpatient rehab patients tend to reach their goals more quickly than those using outpatient services through intensive treatments. When choosing either inpatient or outpatient physical therapy, it depends solely on the patient’s condition and personal preferences. Some patients need constant motivation and care by the physical therapist to make any progress, whilst others find it easier to make progress on their own, in a more relaxed environment.