Acute Physical Therapy & Occupational Therapy

Houston Methodist’s comprehensive rehab program is led by highly trained therapists who specialize in early recovery. From your hospital bedside, we will help you regain function and begin the healing process right away. 

Our physical and occupational therapists are specially trained to work with patients in the hospital who are recovering from surgery or serious medical conditions. From your bedside, our evidence-based treatment plans follow the highest standards to ensure you receive safe, quality care. 

Houston Methodist’s supportive rehab specialists combine OR unite OR merge experience and training to help you regain mobility, function and independence. Our goal is to support your recovery so you can return to doing the things you love.  

Understanding Bedside Rehabilitation Services

What is acute rehab?

Acute (bedside) rehab is when a licensed rehabilitation therapist begins physical or occupational therapy with you while you are still in the hospital. A rehab therapist conducts a thorough evaluation at your hospital bedside and creates a personalized plan to maximize your recovery. 

Therapy sessions are held in your hospital room and may include physical, occupational or speech therapy. Your treatment plan and goals are customized based on your condition and health needs. Your therapist works closely with your doctor to ensure you are receiving coordinated care. 

The goal of acute rehab is to:


  • Increase your strength and mobility 
  • Improve your independence in completing daily activities, such as dressing, grooming, bathing and eating
  • Identify medical equipment and therapy services you may need after leaving the hospital


Your therapist will help you make a discharge plan so you can continue making progress after you leave the hospital.

What are the bedside therapy options?

The treatment you receive will depend on your condition and your function goals. Your care plan might include: 

Occupational therapy (OT) – Occupational therapists focus on helping you improve or recover skills that are needed for everyday activities, such as self-care, household chores, work or school. Treatment plans include exercises to improve your fine motor skills, balance, coordination and cognitive skills. 

You’ll learn about your condition, what to expect during recovery and adaptations you can use during your hospital stay or when you return home. Bedside OT services may include: 


  • Assistive devices and tools
  • Cognitive retraining (thinking and reasoning)
  • Energy conservation strategies
  • Muscle retraining
  • Relearning activities of daily living
  • Therapeutic activities using your arms, hands and fingers
  • Wheelchair modification and mobility


Physical therapy (PT) – Physical therapists are movement experts who focus on improving your joint and muscle strength. PT supports your return to everyday activities, such as standing and walking. Our approach includes education about your condition, the recovery process and techniques you can use to regain function. 

Bedside PT services may include:


  • Balance and coordination training
  • Endurance training
  • Gait training to improve walking
  • Massage, heat or cold therapy
  • Muscle retraining
  • Pain management techniques
  • Therapeutic exercises that focus on muscle strength, endurance, range of motion, flexibility, motor control, balance and stability
  • Wheelchair, walker or cane training


Recreation therapy – Includes leisure activities designed to help you improve physical, cognitive, emotional and social skills. Activities may be delivered at your bedside, in a community room on your patient unit, or during “outings” on our campus. These can include:


  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Puzzles or games


Our certified therapeutic recreation specialist (CRTS) team has experience and training to work in skilled nursing facilities and rehabilitation with adults who have serious medical conditions.

I need advanced care or a second opinion.

Recovering from surgery or a serious illness is often a long road that doesn’t end when you leave the hospital. Whether you are ready to return home and continue therapy in an outpatient setting, require a more intensive rehabilitation plan or are seeking a second opinion, we can help. Houston Methodist offers all levels of rehab, and we will design a treatment plan that offers the support you and your family need.   

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