Outpatient Orthopedic Rehabilitation: Most Common Questions
Outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation involves rehab during set appointment times. Unlike inpatient care, you get to stay at home and, for the most part, go about your regular life. You attend ortho rehab appointments through a clinic, a rehab center, or a hospital. But, unlike inpatient rehabilitation, you don’t have to stay in-clinic or in-hospital overnight.
Yet, many individuals get confused about whether they should choose outpatient orthopedic rehab or inpatient rehab following surgery, injury, or a serious medical incident. The truth is that both of these options have benefits. The recovery tips provided by your physical therapy professional differ depending on the surgery you have but are very useful.
In this article, we’ll narrow in on the most common questions regarding outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation. What should you know about outpatient rehab? It’s time to find out.
What Does Outpatient Orthopedic Rehabilitation Involve?
The first step to getting outpatient ortho rehab involves setting an appointment time with your orthopedic rehab provider. This provider may be referred by your primary surgeon or doctor, or can also be found through online and mobile app searches. Many people choose a physical therapy professional before their surgery. Others wait until it’s time for recovery. It all depends on exactly what you want out of the experience.
Upon your initial appointment, your physical therapist or occupational therapist will take baseline measurements. Their evaluation and assessment helps them better understand your situation and where you want or need to be. During this stage of orthopedic rehab, expect to answer questions relating to your pain levels, functionality, and daily life. The goal of physical therapy as post surgery recovery is to strengthen patients. This is done slowly and over time. It won’t happen overnight.
Often, you will have a set appointment time with your physical therapist and another with your occupational therapist. However, the good news is that all healthcare professionals involved in your clinical orthopedic rehabilitation plan will work together and collaborate on your treatment from their initial assessments. Since they are part of the same treatment facility, they are expected to communicate and collaborate regarding individual patients.
When people are on board with a treatment type, patients benefit.
Another benefit of this? Via collaboration, it’s possible to introduce people to physical therapy options they might not otherwise have found. Examples? Yoga is a great recovery exercise for those that had back surgery. Riding a bike is ideal for those that had knee surgery or ACL surgery. When it comes to foot surgery? Some people opt to swim or use foam rolling. It all depends on the type of surgery you have – and what you need to make recovery beneficial.
When your treatment plan is formulated, your therapists will instruct you to make all upcoming appointments that align with the plan and include what you need to meet your needs and goals. Consider all options when it comes to physical therapy. This includes cardiopulmonary physical therapy, which focuses on breathing and overall health improvements.
How Often Do I Need to Attend Orthopedic Physical Therapy Appointments?
The exact number of outpatient orthopedic appointments you will have per week depends on your condition, medical history, and treatment plan. It varies from patient to patient. However, on average you can expect 2-3 appointments every week. Include physical therapy in your post surgery recovery – your entire body will thank you!
On top of your regular appointments, your therapists will expect you to perform prescribed exercises in conjunction with your orthopedic physical therapy plan. These are frequently daily exercises aimed at getting you back to full function. They are an important piece in reaching your orthopedic rehab goals. No two surgery procedures are the same, but recommended courses of treatment are similar. To learn more about different types of of surgery and recovery, check out the following two links. One describes the recommended recovery from a total hip replacement. The other focuses on an athletic injury to the elbow and a procedure called Tommy John surgery.
Give the process a chance. It’s scary, sure, but physical therapy has proven time and time again that it’s useful for many different recovery programs, no matter what type of surgery you have.
How Long Does Each Ortho Rehab Appointment Last?
Again, this aspect of outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation varies from patient to patient. Most appointments are 30-90 minutes, depending on the stage you are at in your rehab. Keep in mind that your initial appointment and assessment with each therapist may have a longer duration.
What Should I Wear or Bring to My First Outpatient Orthopedic Appointment?
Orthopedic physical therapy outpatient clinics and centers recommend wearing comfortable shoes and clothing. Your clothing should fit loosely. If you require assistive devices, such as a walker or cane, bring them with you to your appointment.
What Different Orthopedic Physical Therapists and Healthcare Professionals Will I Be Working With?
Similar to other questions, it depends on you and your injury or condition. Yet, most outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation programs will involve collaboration between physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, cognitive therapists, hand therapists, visual therapists, concussion therapists, recreational therapists, doctors, and nurses. Most individuals do not need all of the above for their outpatient orthopedic treatment program, but you can expect a combination of at least a few of them.
Work With Your Healthcare Team to Decide if Outpatient Orthopedic Rehabilitation is Right For You
If your accident or injury was severe and you have multiple comorbidities to deal with, an inpatient rehab program may be more suitable. However, if you manage fairly well in your day-to-day, an outpatient ortho rehab program may make more sense. The best solution is to discuss your options with your healthcare team.
If your healthcare team has determined outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation is right for you, find a physical therapist near you today. Do this by using the BetterPT clinic location tool or downloading the mobile app. These options help patients and therapists connect. This means you get the quality care and treatment you need in the palm of your hand. Since transportation can be tricky depending on your type of surgery and recovery, consider using the BetterTelehealth platform. This virtual physical therapy makes it possible to stay on track while staying home.