Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy: An Interdisciplinary Powerhouse at MediLodge

Submitted by Kristina Herfert

COTA, MediLodge of Sterling Heights


Many people are curious as to what Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy are.  Family members are often confused and question why their loved one attends three different therapies.  These three therapies have their own distinct focuses.  However, they do overlap in some areas.  To help explain, let’s consider Edward, who has recently had a stroke.  Before having a stroke, Edward was living at home alone and was able to independently care for himself.  Edward came to MediLodge of Sterling Heights for therapy services.

Sterling Hts Therapy

Physical therapy (PT) will focus on improving Edward’s mobility and balance.  PT can help to strengthen Edward’s legs and utilize various techniques to improve his balance. They will assist Edward in learning how to utilize a walker or cane for walking.  PT can assess his need for any braces or other adaptive devices he may need.  If necessary they will help Edward to complete stair climbing in order to enter his home.  They will help Edward with moving about in bed and transferring to/from bed.  PT’s focus will be on returning Edward to his prior level or making him as independent as possible through the use of adaptive equipment and/or techniques.


Occupational therapy (OT) will focus on improving Edward’s independence in completing everyday activities.  Some activities include bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, cooking, and cleaning.  OT helps to teach adaptive techniques in order for Edward to become as independent as possible.  This could include showing Edward a different way of putting on his shirt.  They will teach Edward energy conservation and work simplification techniques to use in the kitchen.  They can help Edward in the bathroom and recommend adaptive equipment for safety including a shower chair and grab bars.  They will help Edward make the appropriate adaptations to return home.


Speech therapy (ST) will help Edward if he has a swallowing difficulty or any cognitive deficits.  ST will evaluate whether Edward’s diet is appropriate and safe.  They want to ensure that his food “goes down the right pipe.”  Some people that have had a stroke may experience difficulty expressing themselves or understanding what someone else is saying.  They will help Edward to learn adaptive techniques in order to communicate with others.  ST will also aide in helping Edward with adaptive memory techniques.


As you can see, all three therapies focus on separate things but must come together to ensure Edward becomes as independent as possible.  They will exchange information and discuss treatment options with each other.  Together they will develop the most appropriate treatment program.  These are just some areas that therapy can address.  Each person is different and therefore their treatment is different.  Feel free to stop by and ask the therapy department any questions you may still have.


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