What is Outpatient Therapy?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 May 2020
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Outpatient therapy is a form of therapeutic treatment that is offered to people who do not need to be hospitalized. A number of types of therapy can be offered on an outpatient basis, including psychological, physical, and post-surgical care. Many patients like this type of treatment because it allows them to receive necessary medical care while staying at home and avoiding the costs associated with staying in the hospital full time. It also allows the patient to live a relatively normal life, simply setting aside time to attend therapy sessions while working, spending time with family, and socializing with friends.

By contrast, inpatient therapy is offered to people while they are hospitalized. People are usually hospitalized for therapy because they require extensive supportive care, eventually graduating to outpatient therapy once they have shown significant progress. In psychological therapy, for example, someone might be hospitalized for mental distress, and participate in many inpatient therapy sessions both alone and in groups. Once the patient had stabilized, he or she could be released, returning periodically for outpatient treatment.

Many types of medical care can be offered on an inpatient and an outpatient basis, depending on the needs of the patient. The frequency of sessions varies, depending on the patient's case. For example, the person might attend a psychological counseling session once a week, or take an hour of physical therapy every day to work on recovering from an accident. The number of sessions may also be varied as the patient's situation changes, with individual and care provider regularly discussing the needs of the patient and the effectiveness of the current therapeutic treatment.

In many cases, therapy is offered at a special facility that has the necessary equipment for outpatient treatment. Physical therapy, for example, might require the use of a gymnasium. In some cases, however, it is offered to patients at home by care providers who can travel. In-home visits can be more comfortable for the patient, as well as more convenient.

Usually, outpatient therapy is less expensive than inpatient therapy, because it does not involve hospitalization, although in-home care tends to be more costly. It does require more effort on the part of the patient, with the person organizing transport to therapy sessions and committing to attending sessions on a regularly scheduled basis. Support from friends and family members is often an important part of a successful therapy program, which can be grueling in situations where patients require long-term treatment.

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Post 4

Cafe41 - I wanted to say that my daughter had outpatient speech therapy once.

She had mild articulation problems and at the time I took her teacher’s advice and had her go to speech therapy twice a week.

The therapist would perform various games with the target sound so that my daughter could get used to the proper tongue placement for that sound.

She would also have homework in the target sound. For example, when she was working with the S sound she had to practice repeating words that began with the letter S for about 15 minutes each day with me.

I would have to correct her if she did not use the proper technique in

forming the sound. The S sound really involves keeping your teeth clench, but most kids don’t do this and it sounds like they have a lisp.

The therapy was expensive. It was $75 for a half an hour twice a week. Although my daughter was only 5 when she started therapy, I recently read that most children master the S sound by age 9 so I wonder if I wasted my money.

I think that I should have listened to my husband and saved myself the $600 per month that I was paying the speech therapist.

Post 3

Subway11 - I know that many seniors receive outpatient orthopedic physical therapy in the privacy of their own home.

Usually the therapist will visit at the senior’s home a few times a week and have the patient perform the exercises that they would normally do in an outpatient rehab center.

It is really convenient since they don’t have to leave the house. Medicare also covers this service.

Post 2

SurfNTurf -I have heard of Care One. I know that for in patient rehab Medicare pays the first twenty days at 100%. After the 20th day and up to the 100th day Medicare pays up to 80%.

This is where having a secondary insurance like AARP helps because they will pay the remaining 20% for the patient.

Otherwise this can cost about $150 a day out of pocket.

Beyond the 100 days is considered long term care which is not covered by Medicare. I know this because I was looking into rehab care for my father.

I wanted to also say that Care One offers speech therapy and outpatient therapy services as well.

Post 1

I wanted to say that my friend’s mother had hip replacement surgery and she was telling me all about the rehabilitation services that she received.

Her mom went to a Care One facility after her surgery. It was an inpatient rehab setting, but outpatient rehab was also available after her mother was discharged.

They offered physical therapy rehabilitation twice a day for seven days a week. They also offered occupational therapy which involved getting in and out of a car or learning to cook, or even walking around in mall.

The occupational therapy was really to help the patients restore their abilities to care for themselves once they went home.

My friend’s mother really liked Care


In addition to the therapy, they had movie night, bingo and a lot of social events. There was also a dining room and reading area for patients to be able to read the morning paper.

They really tried to make the center a home for the patients that were there.

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