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Rehabilitation: Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy

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National Rehabilitation Awareness Week is a time to celebrate all of the wonderful ways rehabilitation can help individuals get back to doing the things they love. But what exactly qualifies as “rehab” and what does a rehab professional do? There are several disciplines within rehab and many settings where rehab professionals work including physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Physical therapy requires the care and guidance of a licensed physical therapist or PT. PT’s are skilled in performing examinations, diagnosis, and using evidence-based practice to develop a treatment plan. All PT’s are required to have a bachelor’s and master’s degree or clinical doctorate.

For many patients, it’s now easier than ever to get physical therapy. You can schedule directly with a PT and we will send the doctor of your choice our initial evaluation with plan of care. We also accept referrals from the following providers: MD’s, PA’s, NP’s, DO’s, PDM’s, DDS’s and DC’s.

Physical Therapy Assistants (PTA’s) are licensed clinicians that work under the supervision of a PT to provide care. They hold an associate’s degree from an accredited school and many also have a bachelor’s degree. Both PT’s and PTA’s must complete 30 hours of continuing education every 2 years to maintain their licenses.

Similar to physical therapy, the purpose of occupational therapy is to enable people to fulfill, or work towards fulfilling, their potential as occupational beings. Occupational therapists promote function, quality of life and the realization of potential in a person experiencing occupational deprivation, imbalance or alienation.

If your life is interrupted due to a developmental problem, orthopedic or neurological injury or disease or having difficulty with normal limitations that occur with aging, occupational therapy may help you gain/regain life skills, adapt the environment to make activities of daily living easier or teach you to compensate in order to be as independent as possible.

After earning a master’s degree from an accredited Occupational Therapy program, an OT may work in schools, hospitals or independent clinics. OTs serve persons with hand injuries, after stroke, spinal cord injuries, neurological disease, head injury including concussion, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism and many more. So if you cannot put on your socks or you can no longer sign your name, Occupational Therapists can help you learn ways to return to self care, home care, work and leisure tasks.

Esther Hendler, MOT is an Occupational Therapist at Ochsner Therapy and Wellness in Metairie. To schedule an appointment, please call 504-842-4348.

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