Your Outpatient OT Guide

Your Outpatient OT Guide

Occupational therapy is a type of treatment that helps take care of pain, injury, illness, or disability. It is an evidence-based therapy that aids patients in making accommodations for physical, mental, or sensory issues so they may lead full and active lives. The reason occupational therapy is named outpatient OT is that people engage in daily chores and activities that are referred to as occupations. 

What is Occupational Therapy?

What is Occupational Therapy

Simply put, occupational therapy helps people of all ages engage in daily activities. Helping someone complete everyday duties in a setting like a workplace, home, or school is known as occupational therapy (OT). It teaches how to adapt and may be used to complete any task at home, at work, or in school.

An occupational therapist can think of methods to modify daily motions and activities in order to take care of yourselves at home and at the same time remain active. It can assist you in doing certain tasks, such as eating independently or engaging in recreational activities. OTs can clean the house, handle laundry, and do office work.

They work with people of various ages, including elders, young adults in their midlife, and preterm newborns. The therapist examines your performance on any task or activity. Then they devise a strategy to alter your approach in order to make it simpler or less uncomfortable.

Why would you need Occupational therapy?

Almost everyone who struggles to complete any sort of work can benefit from occupational therapy. OT frequently aids individuals in their recovery following major surgery, adjustment to significant disease, or accident healing. An OT can assist you if you are suffering from any health issues, such as arthritis, chronic pain, a spinal cord injury, poor vision, or Alzheimer’s disease. 

This treatment can also assist elderly persons in adjusting to various aging phases with the aim of assisting them in maintaining independent living, as well as young people with developmental issues that influence their physical mobility.

Because of disease, discomfort, injury, or handicap, people who are unable to take care of themselves, move smoothly, or carry out a typical function at school or at work benefit greatly from occupational therapy. An occupational therapist may assess if an assistive device is required and how to help the patient get acclimated to it. The patient may be able to accomplish tasks with or without one.

Many people might not think twice about their capacity to carry out daily tasks like getting from one location to another, tying their shoes, using a computer, cleaning their teeth, and preparing meals for themselves. However, for people who require occupational therapy, these kinds of tasks aren’t always simple. With a care plan in place, OT patients may learn how to carry out these common tasks or anything else they might require assistance with depending on their particular scenario.

What to expect on your first visit?

What to expect on your first visit?

An occupational therapist will visit a patient for the first time in their home or another chosen location to learn more about their present position and circumstances. This will be followed by a physical examination in which the patient will be asked to do a series of tasks. After this, the patient will be evaluated to see what difficulties they are having, which body parts aren’t moving properly, and how long it takes them to accomplish the tasks.

The patient will be asked a number of questions by the occupational therapist (OT) at the initial session regarding the need for therapy, including what is most important to them and what they want to gain from treatment. The occupational therapist will develop a treatment plan that takes into consideration the patient’s goals and enables them to meet their requirements regardless of their physical or mental limits after they have a clear grasp of where the patient is suffering.

How much does it cost to visit OT?

Health insurance frequently pays for occupational therapy in specific circumstances. But that is only in some cases, for patients without health insurance, Occupational therapy normally costs $150 to $200 for an initial examination, followed by $50 to $400 per hour, depending on the service and the practitioner; prices may run higher through a hospital. On average, an occupational therapy visit typically costs between $42 and $213.

Evaluation in Outpatient OT

Occupational therapy treatment begins with an evaluation process to know the patient. Knowing what to anticipate might help one advocate for what they want to receive out of the therapy process. An occupational therapist will probably have a predetermined flow to the OT evaluation procedure.

A critical first step in determining a patient’s skills and limitations, planning targeted treatment interventions, and defining goals that would improve the patient’s performance and promote their independence in everyday activities is an outpatient occupational therapy assessment. 

Evaluation in Outpatient OT

Evaluations require a certain kind of expertise. Occupational therapists rather than licensed occupational therapy assistants carry out these tasks. An OT assessment may last anything from 20 minutes to many hours. Here are some crucial elements that are taken into account throughout the evaluation process:

  • Assessment of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Examination of the patient’s performance of daily tasks including grooming, clothing, and housework. It aids the therapist in locating any performance problems and developing solutions. Prior to the examination, an OT will also go over medical records to gather basic details about the patient’s health, such as age, previous medical history, and other medical data.
  • Evaluation of Environmental Factors: The therapist can discover potential obstacles to treatment and recovery by conducting an examination of the patient’s living situation, employment or educational setting, and social network.
  • Diagnosis of Issues: Following the interview, the therapist will carry out evaluations to gather specific data regarding your overall health and how your diagnosis is affecting your capacity to carry out daily tasks. Your OT will have made a list of issues he/she thinks can assist you with after the interview and assessment procedure. These issues must necessitate expert assistance rather than being ones that would solve themselves. 
  • Goal setting and creating a plan: Setting up goals and developing a strategy is the last phase in the OT therapy process. The therapist will present a strategy for carrying them out. Frequently, a doctor must authorize the plan.

Overall, assessments for outpatient occupational therapy are individualised and patient-centered, taking into account the patient’s requirements, objectives, and skills. These factors are reviewed with the patient, their carers, and other healthcare professionals engaged in their care.

Common Diagnoses in Outpatient Occupational Therapy

Some common categories of diagnosis in outpatient clinics include chronic overuse injuries, acute injuries, and procedures for fractures, joint replacements, muscle sprains, and tears, along with other soft tissue injuries of the ligaments and tendons. The following major diagnoses are frequently seen in outpatient clinics:

  • Hand and wrist injuries or conditions (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome)
  • Shoulder injuries or conditions (e.g. rotator cuff tear)
  • Upper limb amputations or prosthetic management
  • Strains and sprains
  • Arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
  • Post-surgical rehabilitation after a joint replacement or other surgeries
  • Neuromuscular disorders, including multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injuries or conditions (e.g. herniated disc)
  • Chronic pain
  • Autism and developmental disorders
  • Learning and behavioral difficulties
  • Stroke or other neurological disorders
  • Work-related injuries or conditions
  • Pediatric conditions, such as cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.