Estimating the Space Required for Outpatient Physical and Occupational Therapy

The space required for outpatient physical and occupational therapy (PT/OT) services should be directly related to the patient workload. However, due to the variation in hours of operation and difficulties in recruiting PT/OT staff, preliminary space estimates are generally based on the expected number of therapists on the primary shift.

The following rules-of-thumb can be used to develop a preliminary space estimate for an outpatient physical/occupational therapy area:

  • Small facility with two to three PT/OT staff on the primary shift — 1,100 to 1,400 DGSF (102.2 to 130.1 DGSM) — assuming two to three private treatment cubicles, small gym at 400 NSF (37.2 GSF), two to three staff workstations, and support space.
  • Medium facility with four to seven PT/OT staff on the primary shift — 2,500 to 3,200 DGSF (232.3 to 297.3 DGSM) — assuming four to seven private treatment cubicles, medium gym at 800 NSF (74.3 GSF), four to seven staff workstations, and support space.
  • Large facility with eight or more PT/OT staff on the primary shift — 4,000+ DGSF (371.6+ DGSM) — assuming eight private treatment cubicles, larger gym at 1,000 NSF (92.9 GSF), eight staff workstations, and support space.

Note: Department gross square feet/meters (DGSF/DGSM) represents the footprint of a department or functional component and includes the net area of the individual rooms as well as the space occupied by internal circulation corridors, walls/partitions, and minor utility shafts. More detailed information can be found in the SpaceMed Guide.

This article is an update of a previous post.