According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, one in ten people who have surgery in the United States is over 65 years of age.1 For some seniors who undergo surgery or suffer an injury or illness, a skilled nursing stay with inpatient physical and occupational therapy is necessary for a short period of time following the procedure. But, outpatient care can be an excellent option for those who do not require 24/7 care or for those going home after a hospital or skilled nursing facility stay. Learn more about the benefits of outpatient therapy for seniors.
What Is Outpatient Therapy for Seniors?
After surgery, stroke, or another injury, a person may need occupational, speech, or physical therapy, and they may be able to receive it as an outpatient service. Outpatient therapy is a great option for those who no longer need medical professionals’ care around the clock.
With some outpatient therapy providers, you can receive services in your home via home health physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. If you don’t qualify for these home health services, you can attend your occupational, physical, or speech therapy appointments in the professional office setting and then return to the comfort of your home.
Outpatient physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy can be appropriate options for seniors who are recovering from:
- Spinal injuries
- Cardiac issues
- Balance issues
- Gait dysfunction
- Joint replacements
- Arthritic conditions
- Sports medicine injuries
- Hand and elbow dysfunction
- Speech and communication disorders
Because you will receive an individualized treatment plan, the number of sessions can vary from once to a few times a week. Outpatient therapy is a good choice for seniors who are still mobile and have transportation to therapy sessions.
Benefits of Outpatient Therapy for Seniors
The Comfort of Home
If you’re approved to return home after an injury or illness (such as after an SNF stay) but still require therapy services, outpatient therapy through Aleca Health is a great option.
Stress and anxiety can significantly affect how quickly and successfully you recover from a procedure, illness, or injury. Sometimes individuals with higher stress levels take longer to recover.2 Being away from your familiar environment can strain your mental health, causing anxiety and not allowing you to get the full benefit of your therapy. In some seniors, prolonged inpatient treatment can also lead to depression.
Lower Cost for Treatment
The cost of treatment can also be a factor for seniors who need physical therapy. Most insurance carriers cover outpatient therapy costs. They are significantly lower than inpatient therapy types as outpatient doesn’t include room and board, around-the-clock nursing, meals, and other services that inpatient facilities provide. You can receive excellent care with outpatient services without the high price of inpatient treatment.
This therapy for seniors allows you to plan therapy sessions when they are most convenient for you so that the schedule fits your lifestyle and your needs.
If you receive home health PT, OT, or speech therapy, you can participate in treatment sessions in your home. Sometimes, though, for safety reasons, you will need to travel to an office or rehabilitation gym for your therapy services. This is especially the case if your therapist is helping with ambulation. They will need to have access to specific tools to aid in therapy, such as parallel bars.
If you receive outpatient treatment in a professional’s office, you will still have access to the tools your therapist needs to help with your therapy protocols and can return home after your session. While other patients will likely be seen in the office around the same time as you, your therapist will be able to monitor your progress as you work through your therapy exercises and guide you with corrections or additional exercises once you’ve mastered the basics. Your therapist will likely give you different exercises that are safe to do on your own in the convenience of your home to help with strength, flexibility, and stamina.
Get the Care You Need
If you are over 65 and have undergone surgery or another medical procedure, inpatient therapy is not the only option available. For mobile seniors who do not require constant supervision, outpatient therapy services can allow you to remain home and still get the needed help.
At Aleca, we offer outpatient treatment for seniors, including speech, physical, and occupational therapies. Call Aleca today to learn more about how we can help you.
Dan is Vice President, Marketing of the Alumus family of companies. A Seattle native, he earned his BA in Humanities and Political Science at Evergreen State College. He started his career as a newspaper columnist, eventually transitioning into marketing and tech writing for Microsoft and several other startups. He later launched a successful creative agency focused on branding, digital marketing, and content production in Los Angeles, where he worked for several nursing and behavioral health clients, eventually becoming the National Marketing Director for one of them.
He has taught Vipassana mindfulness meditation and MBSR and spends whatever free time he has with his son snowboarding, hiking, and camping in the mountains.