Occupational Therapy - Durham VA Health Care System
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Durham VA Health Care System

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Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapist helps a female in blue sweater cut a tomato.



Occupational Therapy (OT) enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability. It is a rehabilitation profession started in 1917 and rooted in science. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants focus on “doing,” using occupations and meaningful life activities to help individuals maximize their potential. Therapeutic approaches may include strategies, modifications or adaptations to improve function, skill building, and personal wellness to support everyday living activities.

What Do Occupational Therapists Do?

  • Evaluate and treat physical function (strength, range of motion, coordination, upper extremity function, endurance)
  • Evaluate and treat perceptual and cognitive function
  • Provide ADL/self care training, adaptation, modifications
  • Adapt home environments for safety and function
  • Assess for and make recommendations regarding seating, positioning, power mobility options
  • Assist with wound management (seating and positioning, splinting, edema management, ADLs)
  • Assess and treat IADL (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living) function (cooking and cleaning, money management, shopping, leisure pursuits, medical management, driving, parenting, home management, working)
  • Treat UE (upper extremity function) through therapeutic exercise and activity, positioning, splinting, edema management
  • Promote mental health through meaningful life activities and role recovery 


Occupational Therapy Clinics at the Durham VAMC

  • Inpatient Acute Care, Outpatient Services
  • Community Living Center (CLC)
  • Transitional Care Program (TLC)
  • Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC)
  • Poly Trauma OEF/OIF/OND
  • Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC)
  • Spinal Cord Team (SCI)

Contact Information

Elizabeth Karan, Chief Occupational Therapy at 919-286-6874 (or toll free at 1-888-878-6890, extension 176874).

Contact Info


  • 2nd floor, B-wing

Contact Number(s)

  • 919-286-6874 Ext. 176874
  • 888-878-6890

Hours of Operation

  • Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm