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Occupational Therapy

Helps people manage cancer related effects, cancer treatment related side effects/late effects and improve quality of life

Occupational Therapy provides services to adult patients whose abilities to cope with the tasks of living are threatened or impaired by some aspect of their cancer disease or treatment.

During therapy, patients and families learn strategies to maintain quality of life, focusing on the patients' return to their roles as family members, students, workers, etc. An occupational therapist helps cancer patients in the follow ways:

  • working on activities of daily living:
    • self care tasks such as:
      • eating
      • dressing
      • bathing
    • instrumental activities of daily living:
      • home management
      • work
      • leisure
      • driving
      • community integration);
  • identification of strategies to maintain quality of life; coaching regarding returning to roles as family members, students, workers;
  • accessibility;
  • safety;
  • energy conservation;
  • task simplification;
  • complete decongestive therapy which consists of:
    • skin care,
    • lymphatic drainage
    • bandaging
    • exercise and compression for the treatment of lymphedema provided by certified lymphedema therapists;
  • treatment of axillary webs;
  • scar management;
  • restoration of altered biomechanics of the upper limb; and
  • instruction in compensation for peripheral neuropathy.

The Occupational Therapy division of the U-M Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department also provides services at University Hospital and MedRehab, a satellite location in Ann Arbor.

A physician referral is necessary for an appointment with the Occupational or Physical Therapy Programs. Discuss these services with your physician or any member of your health care team. To learn more, visit the Occupational Therapy web site.


updated 5.2014

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