It’s a common question when initiating therapy – how long will this take? Unfortunately, the answer is rarely simple.
Therapy frequency is dependent upon a number of factors:
- Severity of the diagnosis
- Risk of losing function
- Speed at which progress is made
- Ability of caregivers to assist with exercises and activities
- Establishment of a home routine
- Medical, environment and developmental changes
When progressing through an evaluation and diagnosis, these factors are considered when determining the recommended therapy frequency and initiating a treatment plan. Frequency can be broken down into four time frame categories.
Intensive: 3 Or More Sessions/week
This is for patients that have immediate and complex needs. They are at risk of losing a significant physical or behavioral function, and require trained, guided professionals intervening to actively address the situation and halt further regression.
Weekly: 1-2 times/week
This is when a patient needs a skilled therapist on a regular basis. The patient is making continuous progress, while their caregivers are receiving the training on how to work with them at home and establish new routines that can support the patient for the long-term.
Periodic: Monthly or Regularly scheduled intervals
This is for patients that progress at a slower pace and have the support system to maintain a home-based therapy routine. The regular check-ins gauge progress and provide updates to the home treatment plan.
Consultative: As needed
Once a patient is discharged from regular therapy, consultative sessions may occur as needed. This happens when there is a regression, or reaching a new stage of development. These can also occur when integrating new adaptive technologies or facing unexpected medical challenges.
Changes and Conclusion
Transitioning between therapy frequencies is to be expected. As goals are mastered, new developmental stages are reached, or environments change, patients can move up or down in how often they meet with their therapist and what frequency of sessions is needed.
Completing therapy and being discharged occurs when all goals have been reached or therapy is no longer providing any measurable positive changes. However, concluding therapy does not preclude re-instituting services at a later time if the need arises.