Department of Rehabilitation Services

Specializing in Cancer Rehabilitation

Cancer and its treatment can interfere with one’s ability to engage in necessary and meaningful activities of daily living. The cancer rehabilitation specialists in City of Hope’s Department of Rehabilitation Services strive to minimize these effects to ensure patients maintain or regain the maximum degree of function, comfort and quality of life possible at every stage of the cancer journey. Rehabilitation services are available to both inpatients and outpatients of all ages.


Our services include:

Physical therapy uses exercise and movement training to improve a person’s function, independence and, ultimately, optimize one’s quality of life. Through individualized exercise, manual therapy and education, physical therapists can decrease pain, improve strength and restore function. Physical therapy can also help to improve a person’s overall fitness and introduce a more active lifestyle to prevent disability.
What can the Department of Physical Therapy do for you?
  • Prescribe therapeutic exercises for strengthening, endurance and flexibility
  • Improve balance through training and fall prevention education
  • Provide intensive neurologic rehabilitation for people with cancer affecting the brain, spinal cord or vestibular system
  • Increase independence and safety with walking and mobility for people who have been confined to bed for an extended period of time
  • Initiate gait training for people with amputations
  • Address prehabilitation needs for people to prepare for major surgery
  • Provide head and neck cancer recovery treatment by therapists specially trained to work with this population
  • Prepare patients to return to school, work or recreation
  • Assist in pain management for various orthopedic and postsurgical conditions
  • Provide rehabilitation following joint replacement and other orthopedic surgeries
  • Provide treatment to lessen the effects of neuropathy
  • Recommend and provide training for adaptive equipment
Doctors orders/prescriptions are required for these services.
Certain cancers and their treatments can interfere with pelvic floor function, which can result in incontinence and/or pain. Our physical therapists are trained to treat this sensitive issue.
What can pelvic floor physical therapy do for you?
  • Provide treatment for female and male pelvic dysfunction
  • Pelvic floor exercise
  • Urinary and fecal incontinence specialists
  • Biofeedback to learn to differentiate your pelvic floor muscles from your abdominal muscles
Doctors orders/prescriptions are required for these services.
Occupational therapy utilizes everyday activities to assist in maximizing function to improve quality of life. Occupational therapists focus on how to manage side effects of treatment so that patients can engage in meaningful activities and live life to its fullest. 
Interventions target a patient’s motivations, skills, habits, routines and environment to assist in addressing common side effects of cancer and treatment that may be affecting a person’s ability to engage in meaningful activities.
What can the Department of Occupational Therapy do for you?
  • Educate on fatigue management strategies
  • Increase independence with activities of daily living, such as grooming or bathing, with adaptive strategies or assistive devices
  • Provide cognitive strategies to remediate or compensate for deficits in memory, attention or executive function
  • Facilitate the development of coping strategies for stress or anxiety
  • Facilitate engagement in meaningful activities to improve quality of life
  • Provide visual strategies and recommendations on adaptive equipment to remediate or compensate for visual deficits
  • Address lifestyle factors to promote health and well-being
  • Provide treatment and recommendations to patients experiencing lymphedema
  • Facilitate the development of nonpharmacological pain management strategies to address pain
  • Provide preoperative education regarding precautions, exercises and coping strategies to prepare patients for upcoming hospitalization
  • Facilitate return to meaningful student or work roles by addressing physical, psychosocial or environmental barriers
  • Address precautions and concerns in the areas of sexual functioning, body image, intimacy and interpersonal communication that may be impacted by treatment 
  • Provide education on sleep hygiene and relaxation strategies, such as guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation
Doctors orders/prescriptions are needed for these services.
Provided within the Department of Occupational Therapy, our lymphedema therapists provide comprehensive lymphedema therapy, including treatment for patients who have had lymph node dissections, lymph node transfers and lymph vessel surgery.
What can certified lymphedema therapists do for you?
Our certified lymphedema therapists will work with you and your caregivers to teach you how to manage your lymphedema with the following components of complete decongestive therapy:
  • Manual lymph drainage
  • Compression bandaging
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Skin care
  • Compression garment fitting
  • Functional assessments
Doctors orders/prescription for occupational therapy are needed for these services.
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) provide rehabilitative services for speech, language, cognition, voice and swallowing. City of Hope SLPs are specialized in management of communication and swallowing disorders specific to the cancer patients, with the goal to optimize function, safety and quality of life.

What can speech therapy do for you?
  • Complete modified barium swallow studies and fiberoptic endoscopic evaluations of swallow to evaluate swallow function
  • Provide diet recommendations and swallowing strategies to improve nutritional status, comfort and safety while eating and drinking
  • Provide swallowing therapy, including standard exercise, bolus driven therapy, EMST and biofeedback to improve swallow strength and safety
  • Provide intensive therapy during chemoradiation to improve swallow function and decrease the need of feeding tubes
  • Assist in decreasing dependence on feeding tubes and increasing oral intake
  • Provide prehabilitation evaluation before major surgeries
  • Place voice prosthetics after surgical removal of the voice box
  • Complete vidostroboscopy exams to evaluate voice problems
  • Complete standardized tests to evaluate language and cognition
  • Educate and train on strategies to improve speech, language and voice to optimize communication for participation in daily activities
Doctors orders/prescriptions are required for these services.
Orthotics provide support to various body parts to enhance function, or reduce pain or prevent further injury. Prosthetics replace missing body parts for cosmetic and/or function purposes.
What can orthotics/prosthetics do for you?
  • Provide specialty lower and upper extremity bracing, back, trunk and neck bracing to provide stability, support and reduce pain and enhance function
  • Provide custom and over-the-counter compression garments to prevent swelling
  • Provide custom prosthetics to enhance cosmetic appearance and function
Doctors orders are required for these services and for insurance coverage of products.
What can activities coordinators do for you?
  • Distraction: Puzzles, games, arts and crafts to occupy your mind and fill your time during your inpatient stay
  • Entertainment: Group activities to get you out of your hospital room and meet other patients with similar experiences
  • Special events: Bingo, holiday events, cultural and other themed events
  • Pet therapy: Research has demonstrated the health benefits of interactions with pets, and nothing brings a smile faster than being greeted by the wagging tail of one or our specially trained pet therapy dogs!
Doctors orders are not required for services, but you may need permission from your doctor to participate in pet therapy.

Contact Us

If you would like to be evaluated by Rehabilitation Services, please ask your physician for a referral. All Rehabilitation Services (except activities coordinators services) require a doctor’s order or prescription.

Telephone: 626-256-4673, ext. 80040
Fax: 626-930-5369
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Main Medical building, Room 1026

  • Jennifer Hayter, M.A., OTR/L, SWC, CLT-LANA, Director, Patient Support Services 
  • Sherry Hite, M.O.T., OTR/L, Manager, Occupational Therapy and Activities Coordination 
  • Taylor Wilde, M.S., CCC-SLP, Speech and Language Pathology Supervisor
  • Cecilia Fernandez-Mangali, PT, DPT, Manager, Physical Therapy
City of Hope's Department of Rehabilitation Services brings you Seated Tai Chi and Seated Yoga.
Watch Thriving After Cancer Series video to learn how Occupational Therapy can help with side effects of cancer treatment, including concerns of intimacy and sexual health.
Getting your strength and movement back after cancer treatment can feel overwhelming, but doing the simple exercises in this video created by our Physical Therapists can help build your strength over time. 
We encourage you to come back and watch them at least two to three times a week to get back your strength.