Occupational Therapy - Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center - Richmond, VA
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Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center - Richmond, VA


Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy: Living Life To Its Fullest

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT) is a client-centered rehabilitation profession that helps people across the lifespan do the things they need to, want to, or are expected to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy is concerned with enabling people to live life to its fullest by promoting health and preventing - or helping people live better with - injury, illness, or disability.

Occupational Therapy photo

What do OTs do?

  • Enable individuals to participate in all the activities, or occupations, that they want and need to do every day

  • Evaluate and treat physical function (strength, range of motion, coordination, upper extremity function, endurance)

  • Evaluate and treat mental, social, and cognitive function

  • Provide ADL (self-care) training, adaptation, and modifications

  • Adapt home environments for safety and function

  • Assess and make recommendations regarding seating, positioning, and power mobility

  • Assist with wound management (seating and positioning, splinting, managing swelling, performing self-care)

  • Assess and treat IADLS (activities that support daily life within the home and the community, such as cooking, cleaning, financial management, shopping, leisure pursuits, medication management, driving, parenting, and home management)

  • Provide assessment and treatment for vocational, or work-related, pursuits

  • Treat upper extremity function through therapeutic exercises and activities, positioning, orthotics, and management of edema (swelling)

  • Promote mental health and wellness through meaningful life activities and role recovery

  • Provide individual and family education and training

  • Educate on energy conservation techniques and compensation strategies for functional performance of daily activities

Occupational Therapy photo

Occupational Therapy Clinics at Richmond VA Medical Center:

Occupational Therapy photo

  • Outpatient - Encompasses a wide range of services to increase a veteran’s independence with daily activities.  Veterans who are appropriate for outpatient therapy services are able to attend appointments at the main hospital as well as work on therapy at home with an individualized home exercise program.

    • Hand therapy: Chronic, acute, and post-surgical hand pathologies that require therapy to regain strength, motion, and functional use

    • Shoulder therapy: Chronic, acute, and post-surgical shoulder pathologies that require therapy to regain strength, motion, and functional use

    • Neurological rehab: Encompasses a wide range of techniques/approaches to normalize and/or adapt to functional changes after brain injuries and the onset of disease processes.

    • Medical equipment evaluations and training

    • Clinic based home evaluations for hospital beds, ramps, home modifications to increase access in/around home and to decrease risk of falls.

Occupational Therapy photo
  • Spinal Cord Injury

    • Occupational therapy provides comprehensive services on a continuum from preventative care to extended care for veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders. This includes comprehensive evaluations of veterans with spinal cord injury and disorders to plan, develop, and implement evidence based treatment approaches and interventions, advanced seating and positioning evaluations for wheelchair mobility needs, and evaluate for, fabricate, and modify prosthetic devices and adaptive equipment to meet the specialized needs and increase independence with ADL/IADL and wheeled mobility needs of individuals with spinal cord injuries and disorders.  Additional services and specialty clinics include an ALS/MS rehab and equipment focused clinic, adaptive sports equipment evaluation clinic, and an orthopedic hand clinic

Occupational Therapy photo
  • Polytrauma

    • Occupational therapy works with both active duty service members and veterans who have suffered traumatic brain injury, strokes, amputees, and other neurological impairments. OT works to provide recommendations to make the veterans home wheelchair accessible and train the patient and their family member on the use of adaptive and durable medical equipment to assist them with daily activities upon their discharge from the hospital.

  • Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Program (PTRP)

    • Occupational therapists in the PTRP program treat active duty service members and veterans who have suffered a brain injury (including stroke) and provide individualized treatment to increase independence for daily living skills in a wide variety of environments (home, work, and community). Treatment is provided in a residential facility as well as in the community.  OT evaluates all veterans to assess for physical, cognitive and psychosocial deficits that may impact their ability to perform routine tasks to include basic cooking, medication management, shopping, money management, etc. OT works collaboratively with all other disciplines to develop a comprehensive treatment plan utilizing best practices and technologies.

  • Polytrauma Network Site (PNS)

    • The Polytrauma Network Site is the outpatient section of the Polytrauma System of Care.  In many instances, people who are seen in the PNS have progressed through inpatient programs and are medically stable/clinically ready to return to their homes or alternative living situation.  The over-arching goal of the PNS OT is to help people succeed in their new circumstances.  Others who may already be living in the community come to the PNS to improve skills and abilities related to medical and/or psychosocial challenges.  The PNS OT employs specialized assessments to identify problem areas and develop individualized treatment plans to meet and exceed goals.  The PNS OT works closely with therapists of various disciplines and other medical professionals to provide interdisciplinary care.  In addition to traditional OT interventions, the PNS OT offers advanced upper extremity rehabilitation using instruments such as the BTE Primus RS, DynX Hand Exerciser, and SAEBO splinting.  In addition, the PNS OT offers holistic/integrated mind-body intervention through Tai Chi.

  • HBPC OT Program

    • Occupational therapy works with an interdisciplinary team (MD, SW, RD, NP, RN, Pharm D, Psych) to care for veterans in their homes.  These veterans have complex medical histories including congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, neuromuscular diseases, dementia, and others that make travel a hardship.  OT works to help adapt homes to meet the needs of the veteran and caregiver by providing adaptive equipment, durable medical equipment, and assistive devices and training them on their use.  OTs also educate families on safety and ways to reduce risk of falls to help veterans live at home longer.

  • Mental Health

    • Occupational therapy provides individual and group treatment for veterans with PTSD, substance abuse, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, mania, personality disorders, and all other mental health diagnoses, while simultaneously considering the patient’s physical and cognitive limitations.  Treatments are offered on an inpatient and outpatient basis.  They focus on providing life skills, coping skills, and wellness strategies that assist patients in achieving their optimal level of independence in areas of IADLs (cooking and home management, financial management, leisure and family pursuits, medication management) and ADLs (sleep, self-care, mobility).

  • Acute Care

    • Occupational therapists in acute care see acutely ill veterans that are admitted to the hospital to the medicine floor, surgical floor, and intensive care units (ICU). OTs assess veteran’s abilities to access their environment and care for themselves (e.g. dressing, eating, grooming, toileting) to provide the most appropriate discharge recommendation. OTs are also skilled in assessing needs for medical and adaptive equipment that will facilitate independence and ensure safety with daily activities at home.

  • Community Living Center

    • Occupational therapy provides subacute inpatient rehab following an acute hospital stay for veterans with a wide range of diagnoses including but not limited to stroke, amputation, cardiac conditions, knee and hip replacements and fracture repairs.  Veterans often have additional medical diagnoses, among them dementia, diabetes, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, history of stroke.  OT also evaluates and treats veterans on the hospice unit.  In all settings, OT works with veterans and caregivers to address ADL retraining, equipment assessment/education, strength and endurance training, cognitive retraining, safety and discharge planning.

  • Servicemember Transitional Advanced Rehabilitation (STAR)

    • Occupational therapists in the STAR program treat active duty service members and veterans who have suffered an injury and help to facilitate successful return to community and/or work. OT treats a variety of diagnoses including traumatic brain injury, acquired brain injury, musculoskeletal injuries, spinal cord injury, amputation and mental health conditions. Treatment is provided in a residential treatment facility as well as on work sites, in classrooms and in the community. OT evaluates all veterans to assess for physical, cognitive, psychosocial deficits that may impact their ability to perform IADLs to include job/school tasks. OT works collaboratively with all other disciplines to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

  • Wheeled Mobility

    Wheeled mobility photo

    • Occupational therapy collaborates with outpatient veterans and their families and caregivers to identify wheeled mobility devices that address medically appropriate and functional goals. The outpatient wheeled mobility clinic offers evaluation, education, training and follow up care.

  • TeleOccupational Therapy

    • Occupational Therapy is now offering Clinical Video Telehealth, a secure, encrypted virtual medical room for Veterans to follow up with their providers.  We offer both telehealth to the home and telehealth to other medical centers, including our CBOC locations (Fredericksburg, Charlottesville and Emporia).  OTs use telehealth as a service delivery model to help veterans develop skills needed for everyday activities or occupations in the various environments in which they live, work, and enjoy life. TeleOccupational therapy services may include evaluation, assessment and intervention, education and training techniques, caregiver training, assistive technology, durable medical equipment, home and environment modifications, home exercises programs, and more. For more information, including eligibility criteria, please contact Jessica Barton, TeleRehabilitation Program Manager, at 804-675-5000, 3712 or email jessica.barton@va.gov. Click here for more information about McGuire's TeleRehabilitation program.

Contact Info


  • Richmond VA Medical Center
    Room 1S-122

Contact Number(s)

  • 804-675-5000 Ext. 3585

Hours of Operation

  • Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.