Frequently Asked Questions
What is physical therapy?
Physical therapy is treatment to improve mobility (such as walking, going up stairs, or getting in and out of bed), to relieve pain and to restore physical function and overall fitness. The physical therapist uses exercise, manual therapy, education, and modalities such as heat, cold, aquatic therapy, and electrical stimulation to work toward these goals. Depending on the injury, disease, or condition, physical therapy may include work on flexibility, strength, endurance, coordination, or balance. Treatment may focus on preventing problems or on treating problems.
What is Occupational Therapy?
In its simplest terms, occupational therapists help people across the life span participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations). Common occupational therapy interventions include helping children with disabilities participate fully in school and social situations, helping people recovering from injury regain skills, and providing supports for older adults experiencing physical and cognitive changes.
Occupational therapy services may include recommendations for adaptive equipment and training in its use, and guidance and education for family members and caregivers. Occupational therapists have a holistic perspective in which the focus is on adapting the environment to fit the person, and the person is an integral part of the therapy team.
What Is language? What is speech?
Language is different from speech.
Language is made up of socially shared rules that include the following: vocabulary / word meaning (e.g., “star” can refer to a bright object in the night sky or a celebrity); word roots/parts that add meaning (e.g., friend, friendly, unfriendly); syntax or how to put words together (e.g., “Peg walked to the new store” rather than “Peg walk store new”); and use of language (that is, what word combinations are best in what situations, as in “Would you mind moving your foot?” could quickly change to “Get off my foot, please!” if the first request did not produce results).
Speech is the verbal means of communicating. Speech consists of the following: Articulation (that is, how speech sounds are made (e.g., children must learn how to produce the “r” sound in order to say “rabbit” instead of “wabbit”); Voice (that is, the use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound, which at times may sound hoarse ); Fluency : The rhythm of speech (e.g., hesitations or stuttering can affect fluency).
When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder.
When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder.
What do I need to bring to my appointment?
You need to bring:
• A copy of your insurance card
• Any relevant medical documents. For example, surgery reports, x-ray, MRI, school reports, IEP, prior therapy evaluations, and notes from other providers if available
• List of medications
• A referral with reason for physical, occupational therapy, or speech therapy with name, diagnosis (ICD-10), and date of birth on referral. Referrals may be brought to the appointment, entered into our electronic system by your primary care doctor, or faxed to the location where you will be seen.
• Previous home exercise programs. If you have previously received individualized exercises from another therapist or visiting nurse services, it is very helpful to your outpatient PT to know where you are starting in terms of your exercise program. Written instructions are always welcome for review.
What can I expect on my first visit?
A patient’s first visit with the therapist is usually about one hour. Please arrive 15 minutes early to complete the insurance and medical history information we need. Your therapist will take a thorough history and baseline measurements. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown for the examination. After the therapy examination, the therapist will develop a plan of care to meet your individual goals and to establish how often and for how long therapy may be indicated. This is a collaborative process, and your input will be integrated into the plan.
Do I need to know how to swim?
You do not need to know how to swim but should be comfortable in a pool that ranges in depths up to 5 feet. We offer separate Swimming Classes.
Is aquatic therapy billed as physical therapy?
Yes. Aquatic therapy is really aquatic physical therapy. It is a skilled service with direct care from a licensed therapist, so your insurer will be billed for physical therapy services. Swimming Classes are reimbursable by some insurances. Please contact us for more info.
How do I get into Aquatic PT?
You need an MD referral to be scheduled for a PT evaluation. After that, you will be oriented to the pool area and scheduled for follow-up visits in aquatic PT.