Occupational Therapy

Inpatient and outpatient occupational therapy in San Diego

An elderly man opens a microwave door in a physical rehabilitation staged kitchen with the help of a medical professional.

Inpatient and outpatient occupational therapy in San Diego

Scripps Health offers occupational therapy in hospitals, outpatient clinics and home care settings to help adults and children with disabling orthopedic or neurological conditions to recover, maintain or develop daily living skills.


From using a computer to getting dressed, our certified occupational therapists help their patients compensate for the permanent or temporary loss of function caused by illness, injury or surgery.


A referral from the physician who is managing your care is needed prior to making an appointment with an occupational therapist at Scripps.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is a type of physical rehabilitation. Scripps occupational therapists in San Diego possess the expertise to help patients improve their ability to perform tasks in their home and work environments. 

Conditions treated

Our highly specialized occupational therapists care for people who are attempting to overcome mental, physical, developmental or emotional challenges caused by, but not limited to, the following:


  • Brain or spinal cord injuries
  • Neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis 
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke 
  • Trauma caused by accidents
  • Recovery from surgery

Types of occupational therapy

Using treatments and activities tailored to each patient’s challenges, occupational therapists help their clients improve reasoning ability and basic motor functions so they can achieve greater independence and lead a more productive life. 


Depending on your unique medical issue, occupational therapy sessions at Scripps may involve a range of different therapies. Some common OT treatments include:


  • Assessment of cognitive abilities in home and work environments
  • Retraining or therapeutic intervention to improve independence in activities of daily living
  • Exercises and activities to improve mobility, dexterity, strength, sensory processing, range of motion and endurance
  • Task modification recommendations
  • Assistive devices to increase independence
  • Wheelchair evaluations
  • Constraint-induced movement therapy

Multiple sclerosis rehab

For many people living with multiple sclerosis, also called MS, the greatest challenge is managing day-to-day living and side effects, such as numbness and tingling; weakness in the limbs; tremors; visual loss; fatigue; depression; spasticity; and bladder, bowel or sexual problems.


While multiple sclerosis cannot be cured, its symptoms can be managed in part through treatment and rehabilitation, including physical, occupational and speech therapies — allowing you to achieve a better quality of life. But because MS affects every person differently, it’s important that you seek a customized treatment plan tailored for your needs.


MS symptoms and conditions

The goal of rehabilitation for people with multiple sclerosis is to help alleviate symptoms and compensate for some of the physical and neurological problems caused by the disease. Specifically, rehab therapy for multiple sclerosis can address:


  • Muscle and joint stiffness, pain and weakness
  • Balance problems
  • Lack of coordination
  • Trouble walking (gait)
  • Fatigue


Multiple sclerosis therapy

Scripps Health in San Diego offers comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation therapy for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) by therapists who are specially trained to care for people with neurological conditions. Advanced certifications include Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) certification and neurological clinical specialists (NCS).


As needed for your unique multiple sclerosis treatment plan, you have access to a variety of rehabilitation services, including:


  • Gait assessment
  • Balance assessments
  • Evaluation of daily living activities and adaptations
  • Driving safety assessments
  • Recommendations for energy conservation
  • Recommendations for work simplification
  • Treatment for bladder control issues, including incontinence
  • Cognitive and linguistic evaluations
  • Swallowing evaluations and treatments
  • Nutritional evaluations
  • Assistance with re-entry into the community following hospitalization for MS
  • Patient and family education


Additionally, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas offers a complete outpatient evaluation designed especially for MS patients whose conditions have changed over time. During our monthly MS clinic, our rehabilitation team assesses everything from functional mobility and cognitive skills to daily living and nutrition — all in a single appointment.


Following a pre-evaluation phone interview, your full evaluation will take approximately three hours. We then provide your referring physician with a detailed evaluation based on the recommendations of our physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers and dietitians.


MS rehab locations 

Parkinson’s disease rehab

Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that affects movement, producing symptoms such as tremor, stiffness, rigid muscles, speech problems and trouble walking.


Its onset is progressive, meaning symptoms get worse over time, but while Parkinson’s can’t be cured its symptoms can be managed with proper diagnosis and treatment, and rehabilitation including physical, occupational and speech therapies.


Parkinson’s symptoms and rehab treatment

The goal of rehabilitation for people with Parkinson’s is to help alleviate symptoms and compensate for some of the physical and neurological problems caused by the disease. 


Specifically, therapy can address:


  • Muscle and joint stiffness, pain and weakness
  • Balance problems
  • Lack of coordination
  • Trouble walking (gait)
  • Fatigue
  • Speech and voice problems


Parkinson’s disease rehab treatment

The physical therapists are specially trained to care for people with neurological conditions and treat Parkinson’s patients throughout San Diego. Advanced certifications include Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) certification, neurological clinical specialists (NCS), and Lee Silverman Voice Treatment certification.


As needed for their particular treatment plan, Scripps patients have access to a variety of physical therapy and occupational services for Parkinson’s disease, including:


  • Gait assessments
  • Balance assessments
  • Evaluation of daily living activities and adaptations
  • Driving safety assessments
  • Recommendations for energy conservation
  • Recommendations for work simplification
  • Treatment for bladder control issues, including incontinence
  • Swallowing evaluations and treatments
  • Speech and voice disorder therapy


Speech and voice therapy

Because speech and voice disorders are common in people with Parkinson’s disease, speech-language pathologists at several Scripps locations specialize in Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) LOUD — an evidence-based training technique that focuses on improving voice quality, articulation and vocal intensity.


LSVT LOUD improves vocal loudness by stimulating the muscles of the voice box (larynx) and speech mechanism through a series of exercises. The goal of treatment is to bring the voice to an improved, healthy loudness level with no strain, so the patient can participate in conversations and have greater confidence in social settings.


Physical therapy

To simultaneously treat the unique movement impairments caused by Parkinson’s disease, physical therapists at several Scripps locations also offer LSVT BIG and Parkinson’s wellness recovery. Using core movements and other exercises, the training focuses on improving speed, trunk rotation, gait and balance.


The LSVT program is offered on an outpatient basis. A referral from a primary care physician or specialist is required.


Parkinson’s disease rehab locations

The following Scripps Health locations in San Diego County offer outpatient rehabilitation services for people with Parkinson’s disease, including physical, occupational and speech therapy:


Occupational therapy locations

Occupational therapy locations

Scripps offers occupational therapy in San Diego hospitals, outpatient clinics and home care settings. Some specialized OT services are offered only at specific locations, as listed above. Our main OT locations are: