Healthy Lifestyle

5 occupational therapy specialties to know about

5 OT Specialties to Know About


This Occupational Therapy (OT) Month, get to know the specialty care provided by our occupational therapists and the types of medical conditions they treat:

Treatment for lymphedema

Lymphedema is an abnormal accumulation of protein-rich fluid that can cause swelling, most commonly in the arms, legs or breasts. Lymphedema usually is a side effect from lymph node removal or damage due to cancer treatment or surgery. To help, decongestive therapy uses manual lymph drainage, compression garment fitting or exercise. Learn more about lymphedema.

Beena Thomas, lymphedema occupational therapist at Nuvance Health
Beena Thomas, Lymphedema Occupational Therapist

Driver rehabilitation

If an individual has a disability or medical condition that impacts his or her ability to safely drive, a driver rehabilitation program may be able to help. Beginning with an evaluation, the occupational therapist (called a driver rehabilitation specialist) performs a two-part assessment of clinical abilities and driving. The behind-the-wheel driving exam is performed in a specially equipped vehicle with dual brake controls. Upon completion of the evaluation, the therapist will provide recommendations to the patient and referring physician. They may also help the patient learn how to use adaptive driving equipment like left-hand controls, a spinner knob on the steering wheel or a left-foot accelerator. Learn more about specialized therapies.

Kim Puffer Wranovics, driver rehabilitation specialist at Nuvance Health
Kim Puffer Wranovics, Driver Rehabilitation Specialist

Hand therapy

Don’t let the name fool you. A certified hand therapist works on the shoulder, elbow and forearm as well as the wrist and hand. These therapists see patients with serious fractures, tendonitis, Carpal tunnel syndrome, nerve damage, joint replacements, trigger finger and more. Treatment may begin after surgery or to prevent the need for surgery. Therapy typically lasts until the person can return to their normal day-to-day functions. Learn more about when to see a hand therapist.

Conor O’Brien, certified hand therapist at Nuvance Health
Conor O’Brien, Certified Hand Therapist


Neurological occupational therapy (OT)

Neurological OT helps individuals with brain injuries, stroke or progressive disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. The therapist will evaluate individuals to determine strengths and weaknesses and how they affect daily activities. Patients may work on motor skills used for self-care activities and meal preparation; cognitive skills by practicing complex activities; and vocational activities such as return to work. The therapist may recommend interventions to modify the way a task is performed or adapt to the environment. They may also teach new skills based on someone’s capabilities or help regain old skills to maximize quality of life. Learn more about specialized therapies.

Jessica Bannerman, occupational therapist at Nuvance Health
Jessica Bannerman, Occupational Therapist

Low vision therapy

Some specialized occupational therapists assist patients with vision issues that cannot be corrected by ordinary glasses or contacts. Therapy is for patients whose vision was affected by macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, a stroke or brain injury. To help, the therapist may aid in environmental and home modifications. For example, they may suggest the use of corrective devices and visual technology or specialized functional training. Patients with visual changes after a stroke or brain injury may learn to adapt to or correct double vision, visual field deficits or impaired visual perception. Learn more about specialized therapies.

Hannah Landon, occupational therapist at Nuvance Health
Hannah Landon, Occupational Therapist