Hands are incredibly complex, made of many small bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles. Hand therapy is often utilized by people who may have been affected by trauma, leaving them with scars, burns, and wounds. Hand therapy could also be used for people with injured tendons or nerves, amputations or fractured bones. Treatments support hand conditions and injuries that interfere with daily activities or occupations and life roles. Occupational therapists who specialize in hand therapy are knowledgeable about hand anatomy and the structures specific to treatment.
Occupational therapists build rapport with patients or clients to understand their needs so that hand therapy can be relevant and tailored to their needs. Occupational therapists often use the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, a client-centred assessment to help determine the client's occupational goals rather than focus on the impairments caused by the injury. Therapists work with clients to:
-enable clients to set goals that reflect their wants and needs collaboratively
-use interventions that address the performance of desired activities and occupations
-engage in alternative therapies that may not directly focus on the healing of the hand but help to address clients return to social well-being and minimize the psychological impacts of an injury
-design splints and adaptive equipment to support recovery and engagement in activities
The ultimate goal for occupational therapists and their clients recovering from a hand injury is that ensure that rehabilitation promotes healing while maintaining a client's ability to participate in meaningful activities.
Cooper (CHT.), Cynthia. Fundamentals of Hand Therapy: Clinical Reasoning and Treatment Guidelines for Common Diagnoses of the Upper Extremity. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2007.