April 30, 2024

Outpatient vs. Inpatient Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy aids patients in recovering from the social, emotional, and physical impacts of injury or illness.  The treatments and services provided through occupational therapy help individuals of all ages gain or regain independence to execute everyday tasks such as dressing, grooming, bathing, or toileting.  It fosters an environment where patients can not only live independently but perform regular activities more easily and with less pain.

Occupational therapy in the inpatient setting is commonly administered following joint replacements or fractures involving the knee, hip, or shoulder.  It is also utilized in treating various conditions such as subdural hematomas, Parkinson’s disease, long-term complications of COVID-19, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (otherwise known as COPD), arthritis, and numerous neurological disorders. Patients dealing with Alzheimer’s, dementia, exacerbation of chronic heart failure, or pneumonia are also likely to benefit from receiving occupational therapy in an inpatient setting.

The services provided by the occupational therapists at Mountainside Medical Center go beyond patient care to offer family and caregiver education. Services include joint camp sessions, wheelchair usage education, and adaptive equipment training, all considering personal and environmental factors. Prioritizing the cognitive aspect of patient care stands as a key focus for the occupational therapy team, recognizing its pivotal role in facilitating patients' restoration of independence in their daily activities.  The goal is to restore a patient's abilities to their pre-hospital admission level.

Outpatient occupational therapy is for patients recovering from surgery, traumatic injury, or musculoskeletal disorders.  Typically held in clinics or healthcare facilities.  Its goal is to reduce pain, increase strength, and improve range of motion. Similarly, to inpatient occupational therapy, outpatient occupational therapy aims to foster independence, while helping patients regain their previous level of functioning.

Common outpatient occupational therapy diagnoses include orthopedic conditions of the upper extremity, arthritis, carpal tunnel, and cerebral vascular accident.  Other diagnoses include Parkinson’s disease, fractures, ALS, lymphedema, and breast cancer rehabilitation. Outpatient occupational therapy offers significant benefits for all the mentioned diagnoses.

Occupational therapists may propose several tips to prevent common injuries, such as enhancing lighting in the home, widening doorways to accommodate wheelchairs, installing nonslip surfaces on stairs and bathtubs, securing rug edges, and eliminating clutter or potential fall risks. On a case-by-case basis, an occupational therapist may recommend and educate patients on utilizing adaptive equipment like walkers, wheelchairs, leg braces, weighted utensils, and much more.

To learn more about the occupational therapy services at Mountainside Medical Center visit mountainsidehosp.com/services/rehabilitation-services.

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