Occupational Therapy

Physical therapists work with patients in well-equipped facilities.

Our expert occupational therapists will work with you to identify the daily activities that matter most. We’ll help you maintain or rebuild your skills to support your independence. You’ll find:

  • Team-based care, with occupational, physical and speech-language therapists working with you and your doctors.
  • Occupational therapists who work as part of specialized teams to provide neurologic and cancer rehabilitation.
  • Therapists who are board-certified in lymphedema and hand therapy.
  • Preparation for total hip replacement surgery.
  • A program to assess home safety.
  • Expert advice and training on devices to help you communicate and do daily activities, supporting your independence.
  • Evidence-based treatments to help you live your life to the fullest.

Learn about our pediatric services.

What is occupational therapy?

This therapy helps you do everyday activities (occupations) after an illness or injury. These might include eating, cooking, using a computer, grooming and taking part in hobbies. By including meaningful activities in your rehabilitation, occupational therapy enables you to do the tasks you need or want to do at work, home and elsewhere.

How can occupational therapy help?

Occupational therapists help you to regain the physical, social and thinking skills you need to do things that are important to you. Research shows that taking part in meaningful activities increases your well-being.

Our therapists will teach you to to complete tasks in a new way and will suggest equipment to help you be as independent as possible. If you lose function in one arm, for example, they might show you ways to wash with one hand or suggest aids such as a brush with a long handle.

Conditions we treat

Our occupational therapists treat neurologic disorders, cancer-related issues and other conditions, including:

  • Symptoms of brain and spinal cord injuries and tumors
  • Stroke-related symptoms
  • Effects of Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders
  • Symptoms of multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy and other diseases that worsen over time
  • Lymphedema
  • Low-vision problems
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Preparation for total hip replacement surgery

What to expect

An occupational therapist will:

  • Assess your abilities so we can measure your progress.
  • Ask you or your caregiver and family members what activities matter to you.
  • Develop a custom treatment program to help you do daily activities.
  • Work with you to set goals and make any needed adjustments along the way. 

Occupational therapy treatments

We use approaches that research has shown to be effective. 

We’ll teach you a variety of exercises to:

  • Retrain your body to move normally
  • Increase your range of motion
  • Reduce muscle tension (spasticity)
  • Reduce pain

Stroke, brain injury and other neurologic conditions can shorten and stiffen muscles. Our therapists will make or recommend splints to lengthen your muscles and increase your flexibility. 

Vision loss can make it hard to do your usual tasks. Our therapists can show you how to use magnifying glasses, increased lighting and other tools. If you’ve lost vision on one side after a stroke, our therapists will teach you to scan your blind side quickly and completely to make sure you’re aware of what’s around you.

We can recommend and teach you to use tools to increase your independence. These might include reachers, calendars or smartphone apps.

We will retrain you or teach you new ways to do daily tasks such as grooming, bathing, eating, making meals, using a computer and more. For example, if a stroke has affected your balance, you may learn how to dress while sitting on the edge of the bed.

We’ll also show you ways to think through and remember everyday tasks. We might suggest calendars, smartphone apps and alarms, and checklists that break activities into steps.

A therapist will visit your home to assess safety and fall risks. The therapist might suggest adding lighting or grab bars to prevent falls.

We’ll show you how to save energy, pace yourself and reduce stress and tiredness. Occupational therapists can assess your baseline energy levels before cancer treatment. We’ll track your progress and help you save energy through treatment.

For patients

Call 503-494-3151 to:

  • Make an appointment
  • Seek a second opinion
  • Ask questions


See OHSU Health rehabilitation locations across the Portland area.

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