Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapists are licensed practitioners who dedicate their skills to helping individuals reach their highest level of independence in performing tasks associated with daily living.

At HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital, our occupational therapists creatively excel in rehabilitating people in all aspects of life taking into account home, school, work and community function.

Activities of Daily Living Instruction   View more information.

Evaluation and treatment may be needed following an orthopedic injury, neurologic event, extreme weakness, or progression of existing diagnosis. Occupational therapy focuses on evaluating and instructing people in the important life tasks such as bathing, dressing, household management, and hygiene. Loss of ability in these aspects of life can often lead to decreased independence or reliance on family members.

For people to function at their highest level for self-cares, they may need to learn new methods or use of adaptive devices for temporary or permanent use. Recommendations for resources may be provided when loss of ability in these aspects of life lead to decreased independence or reliance on family members. Recommendation for home and community safety, energy conservation, or adaptive equipment may occur. Safety and injury prevention is a large part of occupational therapy.

Acute Injury Management   View more information.

Acute injuries, such as a sprained ankle or strained back, occur suddenly during activity. Signs of an acute injury include the following:

  • Sudden, severe pain
  • Swelling
  • Inability to place weight on a lower limb
  • Extreme tenderness in a limb
  • Inability to move a joint through its full range of motion
  • Extreme limb weakness

Therapy can be a great treatment adjunct for many of these conditions. With the use of modalities, manual therapy techniques and patient education, patients can achieve full range of motion, relief of pain, and restoration of function.

Hand Therapy   View more information.

The ability to use our hands is essential in leading a productive and functional lifestyle. Due to injury or disease, some people's hands do not function properly, creating difficulties with activities of daily living and work duties. Hand rehabilitation is indicated for diagnoses of carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, tendon repairs, fractures, DeQuervain's tenosynovitis, overuse syndrome, arthritis, nerve compression, Dupuytren's contracture, complex regional pain syndrome, and tennis elbow.

Occupational therapy intervention includes pain control, custom splinting, myofascial release, joint mobilization, scar management, edema control, kinesiotaping, sensory re-education, soft tissue mobilization, exercise programs for strength, mobility and coordination, and modalities including ultrasound, phonophoresis, paraffin wax, fluidotherapy, and electrical stimulation

Lymphedema Evaluations and Treatment   View more information.

Lymphedema is characterized by an abnormality of the lymphatic system that results in swelling, usually in the arms and legs. This can result from removal of lymph nodes for cancer diagnosis, damage to lymphatic vessels from trauma, surgery, radiation, recurrent infections, post-thrombotic syndrome, scars or burns, later stages of venous insufficiency, or malformation of the lymphatic system.

Lymphedema is a lifelong condition that can progress if left untreated.

Manual lymphedema therapy maximizes the function of the lymphatic system and teaches lifelong management techniques, including instruction in skin hygiene to avoid infections, compression wrapping, an exercise program to stimulate the lymphatic system, manual lymph drainage to establish new lymphatic pathways to bypass damaged areas, and referral for permanent compression garments when girth reduction has reached a plateau.

Inpatient Occupational Therapy   View more information.

Inpatient occupational therapy services are provided at HSHS St. Joseph's Hospital. Our experienced team of occupational therapists will help you to maximize your functional independence during your in-patient stay, preparing you for a safe discharge.

Occupational Medicine   View more information.

Our team of highly skilled physical and occupational therapists provide accessible care in attempt to maintain workers health, prevent work related injury, and provide treatment following occupational disease or accident. We provide the following specialized services:

  • Pre and Post Physical Screens
  • Ergonomic Evaluations
  • Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCE)
  • Return to Work Evaluations/Assessments
  • Community/Industrial Education

Manual Therapy   View more information.

The practice of manual therapy within the physical therapy profession is a clinical approach utilizing skilled and specific hands on techniques to diagnose and treat soft tissue and joint structures to address pain, decreased range of motion, soft tissue inflammation, improve contractile and non-contractile tissue repair, inducing relaxation, flexibility, and stability. The overall objective is to facilitate movement, improve function, and modulate pain.

Manual therapy encompasses an array of techniques; however, common techniques include myofascial and trigger point release. A particular manual therapy method found to be especially successful for improving function and pain is osteopathic manual therapy.

Neurological Rehabilitation  View more information.

The nervous system is vulnerable to various disorders. It can be damaged by injuries, infections, degeneration, structural defects, and tumors, as well as disorders in the circulatory system. Common diagnoses may include the following:

  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Guillain-BarrĂ© Syndrome
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Alzheimer's Disease

Common problems of patients with neurological disorders include paralysis, vision impairment, impaired balance, difficulty walking, and loss of independence. Therapists work with patients to improve these areas of dysfunction to help restore safe and independent mobility

Orthopedic Rehabilitation   View more information.

Orthopedic rehabilitation is the treatment of injury to the skeleton, muscles, tendons and their supporting soft tissues. Some of the most common diagnoses include:

  • Neck and back pain
  • Shoulder tendonitis and/or impingement
  • Knee pain
  • Hip pain
  • Wrist, hand, or elbow pain
  • Knee and ankle sprains
  • Fractures
  • Scar management

The ultimate goal of therapy is for the patient to achieve freedom from pain, independent living, and an understanding of how to prevent re-injury, thus restoring their previous level of function.



   • Lymphedema Management


American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

Wisconsin Occupational Therapy Association (WOTA)

Lymphology Association of North America (LANA)

Arthritis Foundation

Medline Plus (A service of the US National Library of Medicine)



Send Rehabilitation Services an email.
Call (715) 717-7455


Occupational Therapy