The Most Important Types of Physical Therapy Settings


According to the American Physical Therapy Association, more than 80% of physical therapists practice in settings other than a hospital. These different types of physical therapy settings can include acute care units, rehabilitation hospitals, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, hospices, etc. Although there are many different types of settings, the setting depends on the type of physical therapy that the patient needs. In order to familiarize yourself with the different settings you could possibly practice in, it’s important to know the different kinds of physical therapy. We have outlined some different kinds of physical therapy, from inpatient, outpatient, group, and solo and the types of physical therapy settings you can practice them in.

types of physical therapy settings

Methods and Types of Physical Therapy Settings

Inpatient Physical Therapy

Inpatient physical therapy, according to UPMC, is when a patient receives therapy services within a hospital, nursing or rehab facility. These patients are constantly monitored and given a lot of medical attention. They have more dire or complex physical therapy rehabilitation needs. Because of this, they need to be in a physical therapy setting that is conducive to their recovery. Most inpatient physical therapy patients were previously hospitalized for a health event and now need to be cleared before they are able to go home and live independently. The types of physical therapy settings for inpatient physical therapy can be hospitals but are usually nursing facilities or inpatient rehab facilities.

Outpatient Physical Therapy

Outpatient physical therapy is when a patient receives therapy services outside of a hospital. This therapy is not as constant as inpatient physical therapy. The biggest difference between inpatient and outpatient physical therapy, besides the amount of attention, is the type of physical therapy setting. Outpatient therapy is almost always carried out in local clinics. The therapists at these clinics treat patients with similar medical conditions as therapists at inpatient facilities, but these conditions are not as complex or continuous. Because these patients are well enough to live at home, the clinics are usually located locally. There is a wide range of outpatient physical therapy clinics. Patients either have referrals or can perform research on their own to find a facility that suits their needs.

Group Physical Therapy

Group physical therapy is when a therapist treats two or more patients simultaneously. This treatment does not need to be the same. The activities that the patients are performing may not necessarily be the same. Group therapy does not require one-on-one patient contact with the physical therapist. Instead, the therapist must only be in constant attendance but can turn his/her attention to each patient and not both at once. Group physical therapy could, in theory, occur at any physical therapy setting. It is not as common as solo physical therapy, but group physical therapy can elicit better results than solo physical therapy in some cases. Because it is not as common, not every clinic or practice may offer group physical therapy.

Solo Physical Therapy

It is important to know that solo physical therapy consists of one-on-one patient contact. This means that the therapist will be in constant contact with the patient during the therapy session. This type of therapy can be inpatient or outpatient and can occur at any type of physical therapy setting. This could include anywhere from a hospital to a hospice to a clinic to even at-home care. Unlike solo therapy, group physical therapy settings are more limited.

Now that you know the different types of physical therapy settings, you can start practicing! Whether you’re looking to practice in a hospital or a local clinic, we have great job postings in different types of facilities! Check them out and apply today!

Author: Allied Travel Careers

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