I occasionally receive questions asking if a physical therapist can provide physical therapy services to a patient off of an occupational therapy evaluation and plan of care without completing an entirely new physical therapy evaluation and establishing a physical therapy plan of care (or vice versa). This may occur when a patient starts with occupational therapy, but then realize the patient should be seen by physical therapy (or vise versa).
Another example could be a practice or organization that provides lymphedema therapy and have both an occupational therapist and physical therapist certified to provide this treatment. Sometimes an organization or practice may want to switch to one discipline or the other due to a therapist’s vacation, therapist’s schedule or times and days that a patient can attend therapy. So, if the patient starts with physical therapy and you are treating the same diagnosis (just different discipline), can an occupational therapist use that physical therapy evaluation and plan of care to implement occupational therapy treatment or would the occupational therapist need to do a new evaluation and establish an occupational therapy plan of care because you changed from PT to OT (or vice versa)?
A third example could be a patient who is being treated by an occupational therapist (OT) who is a certified hand therapist. The OT will be on vacation for one week and the practice or organization wants to switch the hand patients over to a physical therapist who is also a certified hand therapist. In this situation, can the physical therapist treat the patients of the occupational therapist under the occupational therapy plan of care or would the physical therapist need to perform an initial evaluation and establish a physical therapy plan of care?
The answer to all the above questions is