Chautauqua Physical & Occupational Therapy Blog

What to Expect When You are Expecting… Outpatient Physical or Occupational Therapy

Your doctor hands you a prescription for outpatient Physical Therapy (PT) or Occupational Therapy (OT). Now what? A million questions are running through your head. I’ve never had therapy before! Will it hurt? How long are the sessions? Can I come after work? And, the number one question…how much is this going to cost me? Why do I have to pay for pain?

As an experienced outpatient Occupational Therapist, I am here to not only answer all of these questions but to tell you how much outpatient therapy can benefit you. Let’s break this down. We will start at the beginning.

  1. What do I do with this prescription in my hand?
    • Call your favorite outpatient clinic, like Chautauqua Physical and Occupational Therapy, and simply explain you have received a prescription from your doctor to receive Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy. If you are not familiar with outpatient clinics in your area, ask your doctors, friends or family for a referral. Go ahead and Google it and read reviews!
    • The office will guide you from there. The receptionist will take down important specific information to get your file started. Some questions you should expect to be asked include demographic information, what body part is being treated, and your insurance information.
    • You will then be scheduled with a board-certified, licensed therapist.
  2. I show up to my scheduled appointment. Now what?
    • Your Physical or Occupational Therapist will complete a comprehensive evaluation. The therapist will ask specifics about what happened and how long it has been affecting you. They will then take some objective measurements which could include things such as joint measurements and strength testing. Your therapist will then explain to you what your plan of care will look like. You will decide your goals together and your best course of action.
  3. How long will I be in therapy?
    • “It depends” is the best answer, but the most annoying. Unfortunately, it is true because everyone’s condition and need is so different. Usually patients are seen 2x or 3x per week for 4-8 weeks based on their specific condition and individual need.
    • Each clinic is different, but you should expect therapy to last from 30-60 minutes.
  4. What are the hours?
    • Every outpatient clinic is different. At Chautauqua PT and OT, we are open most days from 7am to 7pm to accommodate before and after work hours. We are also open on Saturday mornings.
  5. Is it going to hurt?
    • Here is the short answer: “It depends”. You must remember that you came into therapy with pain. As you continue therapy, the goal is to steadily reduce the pain. With time, you should steadily see a reduction in pain.
    • It is NORMAL to have setbacks. With therapy you will see gradual progress; however, it is not uncommon to have a “bad day” where pain returns or your movement reduces, etc. Your therapist will reassure you that this is normal and okay. Hang in there!
  6. How much does therapy cost?
    • This, of course, is probably the number one question we get. Again, it is that annoying answer of “it depends.” It depends on your individual insurance. Some patients do not pay a dime. Others have high co-pays. Some people have met their deductibles, others have not. Some people have high premiums, others are low. Everyone is different.
    • Contact your insurance carrier and ask them specifically how much you should expect to pay for outpatient Physical or Occupational Therapy services so there are not any big surprises. At Chautauqua PT and OT, our patient care coordinators will help you understand your benefits, so you are well prepared for your first visit.
    • Remember, your health and recovery is PRICELESS.  Now you know what to “expect when you’re expecting” outpatient Occupational or Physical Therapy services! So, sit back and relax. Pick up your phone. Make that call and start feeling better.

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Amy Livengood, OTR/L, CEAS II
Hello! I am Amy Livengood and I have been a practicing Occupational Therapist since 2004. I graduated from Keuka College in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State with honors. Following graduation, I began practicing in the pediatric setting. I originally worked with school-aged children but have also ventured into early intervention services, working with children birth - 3 years old. In June 2006, I had the opportunity to join the team at Chautauqua Physical & Occupational Therapy, focusing my profession in a privately-owned outpatient orthopedic clinic in Jamestown, New York. I took the dive and have been doing outpatient hand therapy for almost 14 years now. Since then I have become a certified ergonomics assessment specialist and, most recently, specialized in lymphedema. I am grateful to work for an amazing practice that encourages me to grow and thrive in a profession that I love and am truly passionate about. I have been blessed to be married to my amazing husband, Jonathan for 14 years. He has given me my greatest accomplishments, my children, my daughter Khloe Grace 12 years old and my son, Kale James 10 years old.