Rehabilitative care is a critical component of wellness for older adults, and it may also play a role in recovery for individuals who have sustained serious injuries or those who suffer from disabling conditions like chronic pain or heart disease. Physical and occupational therapy are two of the most widely used forms of rehabilitation, and they are often confused because of their similarities. In many cases, both physical and occupational therapy will become part of a rehabilitative care plan, but it is important to understand the distinctive goals of each type of therapy and the benefits that can come from them. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about these therapies and their use in at-home care through ANS in Milwaukee.

How Do Physical and Occupational Therapies Compare?

Both physical and occupational therapy will focus on movement, mobility, and function, though they address different components of these areas while being tailored to the needs of each individual client. Physical therapy takes a broad approach with overall fitness and health, while occupational therapy focuses on daily tasks performed by an individual with a chronic disability or acute injury.

  • Physical therapy – Strength and flexibility are emphasized in physical therapy through range of motion, balance, coordination, and respiration exercises. Goals in physical therapy are typically based on the whole person and gross motor skills rather than individual tasks. Physical therapists offer ongoing support as they challenge their patients to build their strength and endurance, which can have a profound impact on their health.
  • Occupational therapy – With occupational therapy, patients will focus on basic motor function to retain more independence in their daily lives. Specific activities are used to design goals in therapy, which may highlight hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and fine motor skills. Occupational therapists may also incorporate more abstract skills into patient programs to improve decision making, memory, and coordination.

What Are the Benefits of Physical and Occupational Therapy?

Used in conjunction with one another, physical and occupational therapy can significantly improve an individual’s quality of life. In both types of therapy, each session promotes growth and progress toward specific goals based on individual needs. As a result, patients may feel more empowered and capable, which can be a big boost for self-confidence and overall health and well-being.


Are you exploring in-home health services for a loved one in Southern Wisconsin? ANS Home Health Services can answer your questions and connect you with compassionate home health specialists to address the unique concerns and needs of your family,  don't hesitate to call our office at 414.481.9800.