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The Benefits of Occupational Therapy

Updated: Apr 29

What is occupational therapy (OT)? Unlike physical therapy and speech therapy, OT is often misunderstood. Instead of focusing solely on how the body moves or targeting communication and swallowing, occupational therapy helps people improve their ability to engage meaningfully with everyday life by supporting their efforts to live independently at home or return to work after illness, injury or surgery.


What types of conditions benefit from occupational therapy?

Because occupational therapy is about improving health, well-being and the ability to participate in life’s important activities, many conditions can benefit from OT. Our rehab team will formulate a personalized plan of care that takes all your medical needs and goals into consideration. Some conditions that can benefit from OT include:

  • Stroke

  • Brain injury

  • Amputation

  • Knee or hip surgery

  • Cancer

  • Cardiovascular or pulmonary issues

  • Neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis or ALS

  • Spinal cord injury


How does occupational therapy help?

When people are recovering in an inpatient rehabilitation hospital, occupational therapy can help them regain skills or adapt their skills to fit their current abilities. This helps them prepare for life once they return home.

  • Activities of daily living – OT helps people with everyday activities, such as dressing, grooming, eating, and toileting. OTs help improve basic motor skills, strength, dexterity, range of motion and mobility. Our hospital offers an “ADL suite” that helps prepare patients for their transition home. They will practice tasks such as meal preparation, laundry, changing positions from sitting to walking or lying and even using computers and smart devices.

  • Preventing falls — OTs can help people improve their balance and learn how to use adaptive equipment, such as a cane, to prevent falls. They may also provide specific exercises to improve balance or education on modifying one’s environment to remove tripping hazards and improve the ease of navigation.

  • Addressing vision impairment — OTs can help people improve their perceptual vision, pattern detection, and vision awareness. They can also provide education on adaptations, such as color-coding items for easy identification or teach the use of adaptive tools such as magnifiers.

  • Adapting to cognitive challenges — OTS can help people adapt to cognitive challenges by teaching techniques that aid in memory, concentration and executive functioning.  

  • Home modifications—OTs can suggest modifications to make life easier upon returning home. From grab bars and slip-resistant flooring to power lift recliners and shower benches, these modifications can help people maintain their independence for as long as possible.


If you need intensive medical rehab, consider Milwaukee Rehabilitation Hospital. Our team of therapists will address your unique needs and create a comprehensive rehab plan of care to help you reach your goals. Learn more about medical rehab on our website.



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