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    Difference between PT and OT

    What is the difference between a Physical Therapist and an Occupational Therapist? When I was in rehab I remember both therapist doing pretty much the same thing with me as far as "physical" theraphy goes. Can an Occupational Therapist graduate into a Physical Therapist with schooling if desired. Would school be less now that the person is a OT?

    T5 Incomplete (06/02/03)- Walking with no assistance.
    - OSCAR

    #2
    PT"S focus on the body, OTs focus on applying the body to everyday activities. PT's focus on strengthening what muscles you still have, while OTs focus on practical usage of those muscles, with a macro-vision of adapting to daily life. Using equipment, ideas for house adaptations, driving, all that stuff.

    Don't worry, she'll hold together. You hear me, baby? Hold together.
    www.worldonwheels.ca

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      #3
      Some of this varies by practice and licensure or certification, while some varies by institutional practice. Here is a description from the CRPF website:

      Occupational Therapy

      An occupational therapist (OT) is skilled in helping individuals learn, or relearn, the day-to-day activities they need to achieve maximum independence. OTs offer treatment programs to help with bathing, dressing, preparing a meal, house cleaning, engaging in arts and crafts or gardening. They make recommendations and offer training in the use of adaptive equipment to replace lost function.

      OTs also evaluate home and job environments and make recommendations for adaptations. The occupational therapist also guides family members and caregivers in safe and effective methods of caring for people. Occupational therapy not only helps to restore basic physical skills, but also facilitates contact with the community outside of the hospital.

      Physical Therapy

      The physical therapists (PT) treat disabilities that result from motor and sensory impairments. Their aim is to help people increase strength and endurance, improve coordination, reduce spasticity, maintain muscles in paralyzed limbs, protect skin from pressure sores and gain greater control over bladder and bowel function.

      PTs also teach paralyzed people techniques for using assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes or braces. In addition to "hands-on" exercises and treatments, physical therapists also educate people to take care of themselves. PTs may also work with joints and assure their range of motion. Physical therapists also use methods such as ultrasound (which uses high frequency waves to produce heat), hot packs and ice.
      Both now require a masters degree for practice, so have roughly the same education, but with different emphasis.

      Here are some typical areas of expertise and interventions:

      PT:
      <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>Strengthening and balance exercises
      <LI>Gait training
      <LI>Transfer training
      <LI>Range of motion and teach self-range
      <LI>Standing and standing equipment
      <LI>FES to the legs
      <LI>Application of heat, cold, ultrasound and other modalities
      <LI>Bracing and selection of gait aids
      <LI>Evaluation and selection of wheelchairs
      <LI>Home evaluation for mobility issues[/list]

      OT:
      <UL TYPE=SQUARE><LI>Arm and hand strengthening
      <LI>Coordination exercises
      <LI>FES for the hand and arm
      <LI>Application of heat, cold, ultrasound and other modalities
      <LI>Hand bracing (functional and static)
      <LI>Activities of daily living (ADL) training, which includes feeding, dressing, bathing, writing, computer use, typing, cooking, etc.
      <LI>Evaluation and selection of adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs (in some centers), commodes, bathing equipment, dressing and feeding aids, etc.
      <LI>Home evaluation for functional issues[/list]

      Ideally the PT and OT should work together collaboratively so that each builds on others strengths and compensates for each others weaknesses.

      Of course we sometimes joke (never seriously) that OT gets the arms, PT gets the legs, and nursing gets what is in between!!!!

      (KLD)

      [This message was edited by SCI-Nurse on 12-13-04 at 08:23 PM.]
      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks Chris.
        Thanks KLD.
        I come with this question because I am continuing my education (Cal State, Long Beach) and I am interested in majoring in Biology or Health Science but I want to use my knowledge to help others better their lives. Nursing has come to my attention but I don't think it's the job for me. Responsibilities come with all jobs but Nursing is a big one and I don't think I will be able to handle it.
        My recovery has been a blessing. I have gained A LOT of my function. On a scale of 1-10 I say I fall on an 8 with my funtions. I Don't use any equipment at all, I run, drive, swim, work out...it's as if nothing ever happened to me. Science/Biology has always been my interest but I don't want to end up just teaching the material as my career, which would be great but maybe when I am old and back on my cane [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]. Physical Therapy has always been a high interest, but I question myself when it comes to pursuing this career because of my "disability" and fusion.
        I have talked to the PT department at my school and spoken to the director and explained to her my problem and where I stand with all this.
        She said:
        "Oscar, I don't think you should have a problem with pursuing this career. We won't keep you from applying to the program. As far as you in the work field; you can always accommodate. You can do outpatient, small hospitals, nursery faicilities or pediatrics, but remember that as part of the program at the school there will be a general training in all fields. There will be some lifting but you are not alone, you can always partner up because PT can be very physical."
        Taking in what she said she made sense. I have seen therapist that at most times work with partners if necessary and also I have also seen short, thin female therapist that can do the job and at most times have assistance. If they can do it, well so can I, right?
        Even so, I still have my concerns with PT. I have also been looking into Occupational Therapy which is also something I wouldn't mind pursuing. OT is less physical and it's something I would be able to do.
        What do you guys think of all this? You guys probably think I am crazy, considering my physical restrictions.
        One thing though, I am going to volunteer at some rehab clinics. I am gooing to try and volunteer at Rancho Los Amigos Rehab Center and see how that works.
        Any input from you guys is appreciated, guide me here! [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

        PS: Did you guys know there's an OT a Rancho Los Amigos who is in a wheelie. I think thats cool!


        THANKS!

        T5 Incomplete (06/02/03)- Walking with no assistance.
        - OSCAR

        Comment


          #5
          I know both OTs and PTs in chairs (as well as some nurses). Most work in the rehab field (inpatient and outpatient). Accomodations can be made both in school and in practice. Also, both fields have non-professional staff. PT has PTAs (PT Assistants) and OT has both COTAs (certified OT assistants)and OT aides. There programs are at the vocational or jr. college level, and an accomodation in both fields would be to include these staff on your "team".

          I think volunteering at Rancho would be a great way to discover which direction you would like to go. It also gives you "points" for applying to either type of professional program (OT or PT). Personally I have always thought that if I was not a nurse I would like to be an OT as I find the creativity and challanges of that field more interesting than those in PT, but that is me personally. If you are into science and math, rehab engineering might also be an option, although there are fewer programs around.

          (KLD)
          The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

          Comment


            #6
            kLD, thanks for all your input.
            Do you friends, the OTs and PTs, come to this forum? I would really like to talk to them. That would be really cool if I did.
            I have never heard rehabilitation engineering, I should look it up.

            Thanks.

            T5 Incomplete (06/02/03)- Walking with no assistance.

            [This message was edited by OsCDuDe on 12-14-04 at 01:42 AM.]
            - OSCAR

            Comment


              #7
              check www.resna.org for rehab tach stuff

              good luck!

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                #8
                yea...what is rehab engineering? developing rehab programs?

                " The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
                - Alan Kay

                "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
                - Alan Kay

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                  #9
                  I am a PT that owns a rehabilitation company in the Detroit Michigan area called the Recovery Project. We employ both PT's and OT's the PT's focas on whole body strengthening, gait training, flexability, balance, coordination and endurance training. Our OT's focas on activities of daily living. In our program our clients recieve 2-3 hours of PT and ( if needed) 1 hour of OT.

                  Polly

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by The Recovery Project:

                    I am a PT that owns a rehabilitation company in the Detroit Michigan area called the Recovery Project. We employ both PT's and OT's the PT's focas on whole body strengthening, gait training, flexability, balance, coordination and endurance training. Our OT's focas on activities of daily living. In our program our clients recieve 2-3 hours of PT and ( if needed) 1 hour of OT.

                    Polly
                    It would be great to have affordable programs that would offer those hours per day rather than per week as I assume your program does. Anything less is insufficient even for maintenance, let alone progress unless you are very incomplete.

                    Anyway welcome to CareCure and thanks for posting. I like the name of your program and the fact that you provide endurance training!

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                      #11
                      T-4 complete going on 2 yrs. I was/am a PT and used to work in an in patient hospital but now assist faculty at a PT school. I think the differences between PT and OT were pointed out really well by SCI nurse. One thing I noticed missing is that PT's also are skilled at wound care. In fact, and at least in TX-Please correct me if I am not completely accurate-SCI nurse, PT can use sharps debridement for wound care- a responsibility shared by very few in the hospital. I am certainly not a historian, but I believe that the practice of PT came about-and this is an oversimplification-basically because nurses noticed that patients who moved and got out of bed recovered faster, but nurses did not always have the time to offer this to each patient. So PT is a spin off from nursing care.

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                        #12
                        Where Jim went to rehab, University of Wisconsin, Sheperds and Patricia Neal here in Knoxville, the OT's worked on arms/hands as well as ADL's and PT's did balance and legwork. The OT at Patricia Neal was incredible and I credit her with bringing Jim to his present level, he was injured in rehab at Wisconsin and was unable to use arms/shoulders til she got ahold of him. There is alot of interesting specialties within each field, OT and PT. Like KLD, either OT or PT would have been a good choice for me instead of nursing, I like being physical. Good luck to you, both are rewarding, challenging and expanding fields.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Rehab engineers design equipment and technical systems for use by people with a wide variety of disabilities. They design wheelchairs and commodes, seating systems, ECUs, communication devices, hand controls for cars, etc. etc. They often work in industry, but many work in research environments (for example, robotics research related to disability) and some work in clinical settings where they help the other clinical staff find equipment, adapt equipment, or custom build equipment for the patient's unique needs. I have worked with a couple who were great at what they did...both were OTs first and then did their master's degree in rehab engineering. RESNA is their major professional organization, and their conferences are fascinating. There are not as many schools in this specialty, but it is a profession that is in pretty high demand.

                          Modern professional PT developed out of nursing and sports training combined. Sister Kenny is one of the "mothers" of modern PT. She was a nurse from Australia who developed a system of modalities and exercise for people with polio in the 1920s and 1930s. Sister Kenny Institute (a large rehab center) in Minneapolis is named for her.

                          OT developed out of PT and work therapy in the mental health field, which is where they got their unfortunate name (no one knows what it means and they often mistake it for vocational rehabilitation).

                          (KLD)
                          The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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