Occupational therapy is meant to focus on a person’s functional abilities. An occupational therapist does not directly treat a person’s injury, but instead helps the person optimize their independence and ability to accomplish daily activities after an injury has occurred. Occupational therapy focuses on a patient’s life skills.
An occupational therapist will utilize adaptive tools that are ofttimes customized by the therapist. They will also do on-site assessments in home and work environments and give recommendations on how the locations can be adapted to allow a better quality of life. Think about them as “occupation” like a job, a therapist that works on a job or home site.
Physical therapy is focused more on treating an injury than working around it or trying to prevent future injuries. Think of them as more “physical” or therapists of the body instead of the occupation/job or home environment.
Physical therapists are trained on anatomy and the musculoskeletal systems, resulting in the therapist being more knowledgeable about muscle and skeletal injuries. They are specialized in rehabilitation, offering services to injured patients that may not be available through a general practitioner.