Outpatient therapy is therapy that is initiated by your physician. Your child’s doctor will start the process by writing a prescription for an evaluation and treatment, and he or she will remain an integral part of the outpatient team.
Outpatient services may be frequent and short term – such as 3x a week for 4 weeks, or they could be 1x a week for 12 weeks.
What Can I Expect When We Go to Outpatient Therapy?
On the first day, the therapist will perform an evaluation/assessment. This will be an in-depth assessment of your child’s condition. The therapist then develops a customized treatment program directed toward making meaningful, practical, and sustained changes in your child’s ability to function.
Goals for therapy should be developed with you, the parent, and are focused on maximizing functional independence, preventing further movement/function problems and maintaining health.
Once the evaluation is complete and goals have been identified, your therapist will recommend the frequency and duration needed to reach these goals. If the therapist is billing your insurance company, they will present the results of the evaluation to the insurance company to receive authorization, as needed.
Some of the techniques your therapist may include in your child’s session:
- Therapeutic exercise – for children, this will be based around play and may include mediums such as aquatic therapy.
- Functional training – these are activities that work on skills required for independence in everyday living.
- Education – understanding your child’s condition, treatment, and how to help with your child’s treatment.
- Prescription and application of devices and equipment – to aid or support functional mobility.
- Other interventions may be used to assist your child to play and function at an age-appropriate level. This may include exploring equipment options and alternative therapies.
Some children do better when parents are not present. Many pediatric therapy clinics have observation rooms where you can watch your child and learn what activities are being practiced.
Even if you are not present, it is important to be sure you spend some time becoming familiar with the activities your therapist is performing with your child so that you can re-enforce these at home