At HealthKeeperz, our mission is to care for all for the glory of God. Each and every day, teammates across North Carolina fan out from county offices to call on patients they hold dearly in their hearts. In our culture, each position on the home health team is empowered to lead through humility, encouragement, selflessness, and caring for patients and each other. Two key roles on our many teams are those of the occupational therapist and physical therapist.
Many folks, when they first engage with us, may be a bit confused by the difference between these two roles. In fact, they are quite different, starting with the focus of each kind of therapist. Let’s start with a big similarity though—both types of therapists care for patients with hands-on, rehabilitative therapy to help those who are recovering from injuries or living with disabilities.
Physical therapists primarily care for those recovering with from injuries and surgeries. The main benefit of home-based PT is that patients, especially seniors, are able to continue their recovery in the comfort and dignity of their own homes, getting the same level of care that they would from hospital based PTs without the hassle of multiple hospital visits. Physical therapists work with patients to help them regain their pre-injury or pre-operative strength, through motion exercises, massage, and other techniques of the profession.
PTs also focus on injury prevention, in order to minimize future surgical interventions or long-term medications, whenever possible.
Occupational therapy, on the other hand, is applicable not only to post-operative situations and injury recovery, but also for those with developmental and cognitive disabilities. Occupational therapists, rather than starting with the body itself, focus on what patients need to do—occupations—at home and at work, as applicable. Versus a straightforward focus on health, as with physical therapy, occupational therapy focuses on quality of life through helping patients do what they want to do on a daily basis, as they struggle with conditions that can affect motor skills, emotions, or behavior.
While PTs focus on exercise, OTs focus on daily tasks.
We have found that both physical therapists and occupational therapists play gamechanging roles for our patients at HealthKeeperz, and our patients don’t miss a beat when compared to those who receive therapy at hospitals. Our PTs help patients build strength, reduce pain, and increase mobility, and many patients achieve physical fitness for their age and circumstance. Our OTs perform critical work not only for those hampered by physical limitations, but also with mental conditions like Alzheimer’s. Their work with patients suffering from memory loss, dementia, and other issues can be transformative, as they assist spouses and other caregivers through therapy techniques and adaptive devices.
Also contrary to conventional wisdom, many physical therapists and occupational therapists hold advanced degrees, ranging from master’s level to doctorates, from graduate schools of health sciences. They are able to provide such great care, and continuously improve their service, through a combination of cutting-edge education and the benefits of practicing with patients over time.
Some of our patients work with both physical therapists and occupational therapists. For example, we have some patients who have suffered injuries, both requiring surgery and leaving them with a post-operative disability. These patients often go home, where they are first treated by home health nurses, who ensure that patients are recovering according to the doctor’s pre-established standards, as well as physical therapists who work with patients to bring back strength and maximum mobility for their condition. The PT will then turn over the patient to focus on daily tasks, like dressing, showering, and even feeding themselves, while working through a disability or other impairment.
At HealthKeeperz, we are on a God-given mission to do His work in caring for the people of North Carolina. We are blessed to have the best PTs and OTs call HealthKeeperz home, as they bring the best care to the homes of those we are so honored to serve.
For more information about careers at HealthKeeperz, including openings in home-based physical therapy and occupational therapy, visit www.healthkeeperz.com/careers.