Occupational Therapy - Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital
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Edward Hines, Jr. VA Hospital


Occupational Therapy

The occupational therapy program at Hines VA Hospital provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient services to Veterans with various diagnoses and disorders, which include cardiopulmonary, musculoskeletal, neurological, orthopedic, and rheumatological conditions, as well as to Veterans with spinal cord injury. Goal-directed treatments are geared towards improving the quality of life for Veterans with physical disabilities. A variety of techniques and therapeutic activities focus on improving activities of daily living skills, upper extremity range of motion, muscle strength, coordination, balance, endurance, visual perceptual-motor, and cognitive skills.

Occupational therapy provides services to Veterans in three distinct clinics:

Services are also provided through consultation to Veterans in the Robert C. Fruin and Blind  Rehabilitation Centers.

Occupational therapists are members of the interdisciplinary treatment team, OIF/OEF Polytrauma, and Amputation System of Care teams.  Occupational therapy also participates in the annual wheelchair sports games.

Occupational Therapy Interventions, treatments, and therapeutic activities include:

  • Assessment and reassessment of functional status
  • Upper extremity range of motion, muscle strengthening, and fine motor exercises and joint mobilization techniques
  • Education and instruction in home exercise programs for the upper extremity
  • Training in activities of daily living skills and compensatory techniques
  • Cognitive and sensory integration training
  • Training in positioning, body mechanics, joint protection, and energy conservation techniques
  • Custom static and dynamic splint fabrication for the upper extremity
  • Durable medical equipment and adaptive equipment evaluation and training
  • Neuromuscular re-education
  • Measurement for upper extremity pressure garments for edema control

Occupational Therapy Programs:

Physical Disability Rehabilitation Program

The occupational therapist in the Physical Disability program provides therapy for inpatients and outpatients to help them achieve their optimal level of independence. Veterans requiring rehabilitation for stroke; Traumatic Brain Injury; hand problems; and orthopedic and arthritic conditions are treated during the acute rehabilitation phases. Individualized, goal-directed treatment involves a variety of techniques and activities. Custom hand splints are fabricated to support, protect, and position a joint, and to correct and prevent deformities. Adaptive and assistive devices are ordered or fabricated to allow increased independence in activities that patients would otherwise be unable to perform. The Veteran, family, and/or caregiver are educated in the use of splints and adaptive devices; joint protection; energy conservation techniques; body mechanics; positioning; safety; environmental adaptations; and other topics as needed.

Occupational Therapy for inpatient and outpatient services is provided for acute injuries and conditions in Building 228, Room B1021. Phone number: (708) 202-8387 x 27808

Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program

The occupational therapist in the SCI program provides therapy for inpatients and outpatients, as well as Home-Based Primary Care to Veterans with spinal cord injuries.

This program is similar to the physical disabilities program, although it is specifically designed to help a Veteran with spinal cord injury adapt to his or her disability physically, emotionally, and socially. An occupational therapist will on occasion visit a Veteran's home to assess application of newly learned skills.

Occupational therapy also evaluates and trains Veterans to use electronic aids to daily living (EADL’s) and environmental control units (ECU’s). The goal is for the Veteran to gain as much independence as possible through neuromuscular re-education; strengthening; use of adaptive and assistive devices; home environment adaptation and modification; splinting and orthotic training; development of home exercise programs; and patient and family education.

Occupational Therapy for inpatient and outpatient services is provided for spinal cord-injured patients in Building 128, Room A100. Phone number: (708) 202-8387, x 24528

Geriatric Rehabilitation Program

The occupational therapist provides therapy for inpatients in the Community Living Center (CLC) which provides extended rehabilitation, and Robert C. Fruin Center (RCF), which provides long-term care for spinal cord-injured Veterans. Treatment involves similar goals and techniques as the physical disabilities program, with special emphasis on accommodating the geriatric Veteran who is experiencing physical and psychosocial changes that accompany the aging process. Changes may include, but are not limited to, decreased physical strength/endurance, role adaptation, decreased motor skills, impaired cognitive processing, and loss of a significant other.

Occupational therapy for inpatients requiring extended rehabilitation is provided in Building 217, Room 2A34A. Phone number: (708) 202-8387, x 23324

Hand Therapy Program

The occupational therapists work closely with orthopedic surgeons in the weekly hand clinic to educate Veterans and family members about disease processes, and provide splint fabrication and instructions in home exercise programs. By actively participating in the hand therapy program, Veterans will improve active and passive range of motion, muscle strength, coordination, sensation, and overall hand function through exercise; therapeutic activities; treatment modalities; edema and scar management; home exercise programs; and close monitoring of custom orthotic devices. The hand therapy program offers comprehensive evaluations and treatment for hand and wrist injuries, including amputations; arthritis; burns; carpal tunnel syndrome; crush injuries; fractures; nerve injuries; sprains; tendon and ligament injuries; as well as post-surgical care.

Shoulder Rehabilitation Program 

Occupational therapists treat patients with a variety of shoulder disorders, which include degenerative joint disease, frozen shoulder, impingement syndrome, and rotator cuff injuries. The Veteran is assessed and an individualized goal-directed treatment is developed from various treatment options, including joint mobilization; massage; muscle re-education and strengthening; desensitization; pain management; and home exercise programs.

Inpatient and outpatient services are provided for Hand Therapy and Shoulder Rehabilitation in Building 228, Room B1021. Phone number: (708) 202-8387, x 27808

Contact Info


  • Bldg. 228 Rm. B1021
    Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation - Bldg. 128 Rm. A100
    Geriatric Rehabilitation - Bldg. 217 Rm. 2A34A

Contact Number(s)

  • 708-202-8387 Ext. 27808

Hours of Operation

  • Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm