What Are Outpatient Physical Therapy Clinics?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2020
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Outpatient physical therapy clinics are clinics that provide physical therapy services on an outpatient basis. This means the patients leave their homes and visit the clinics for their appointments, on their own or with assistance from the facilities. Patients can find outpatient rehabilitation clinics within hospital settings, as part of long-term care facilities, and as separate and independent health care entities. Perhaps the most common types of outpatient physical therapy clinics provide assistance during physical recovery, but many clinics provide other kinds of therapies, treatment, and management options. Some outpatient rehabilitation clinics cater to, or provide programs specifically for, the needs of certain genders and age groups.

Many patients obtain outpatient physical therapy services after they receive inpatient services in a hospital. For example, after a patient undergoes surgery, is involved in an accident, or experiences any other health situation that leaves him temporarily or permanently physically altered, he receives physical therapy services in the hospital. If his physical recovery isn’t complete when the hospital discharges him, he will continue with outpatient therapy. Of course, outpatient therapy patients aren’t always former hospital patients. Some people experience injuries or have other health circumstances that require only outpatient physical therapy services.


Patients can find outpatient physical therapy clinics in a variety of locations. Some clinics are located in hospital settings. Often, patients receive outpatient therapy from the same hospital from which they received inpatient therapy. Other facilities, like nursing homes and long-term care facilities, sometimes are equipped with outpatient physical therapy clinics. Some clinics operate independently of any other health service provider, and others are located in separate buildings but are still part of an overall health care system.

Just like inpatient therapy, outpatient therapy is designed to help rehabilitate the patient. Typically, this means helping him learn, or re-learn, both simple and complicated physical tasks. Similar to inpatient clinics, outpatient physical therapy clinics can help patients with everything from regaining full use of a knee to learning how to walk again. Sometimes, additional kinds of treatment options are available. For example, depending on the clinic and patient, therapies such as massage therapy and pain management therapy might be options.

Generally, outpatient physical therapy clinics also provide other kinds of rehabilitation services. This availability depends on the clinic, but many provide occupational therapy, sports therapy, and even speech therapy. Some clinics provide outpatient therapy services based on the needs of certain age groups, such as pediatric therapy and senior rehabilitation programs. The same is true of gender needs. Some clinics provide men’s health and women’s health programs not only to rehabilitate, but also to educate.


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