What does a Hand Therapist do?
Most people have never heard of hand therapy or don’t know what a Hand Therapist is,
until they have a finger, hand, wrist or elbow injury and need treatment. A Hand Therapist is
an Occupational Therapist or a Physiotherapist, who has specialist training in the treatment
of upper limb injuries and conditions. A Hand Therapist has a wide range of skills including:
- Making and fitting splints and braces
- Post surgical rehabilitation
- Making and fitting waterproof fracture casts
- Sports injuries assessment & treatment
- Wrist pain assessment & treatment
- Handwriting assessment (including DASH-17 assessment for VCE)
- Hand and wrist arthritis management
- Wound and scar management
- Work place assessment
- Musician injuries assessment & treatment
A Hand Therapist is the best person to see if you have an injury to your finger, hand, wrist or elbow as they are highly specialised in the assessment and treatment of hand and upper limb injuries. Hand Therapists are able to fabricate custom made thermoplastic splints and fibreglass casts if you require it.
Finding a Hand Therapist in Australia
The Australian Hand Therapy Association can provide you with the details of their members
and can help you locate a Hand Therapist located close to you. The good news is that you
don’t need a referral to see a Hand Therapist, although a handover letter from your GP or
other health professionals is always useful if you have one. You can use your private health
insurance if you have Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy cover (contact your health insurance provider to find out your level of cover). You may also be able to claim a Medicare rebate when you a see a Hand Therapist, to find out more discuss your eligibility with your GP.
Being a Hand Therapist is such a unique job which I love doing! I have worked as a Hand
Therapist for 15 years and there is always something new to learn. Everyone I see is
impacted by an injury or condition which is preventing them from getting the most out of
their work, sport or home roles. Through an individualised assessment and a personalised treatment plan, it is very rewarding to see my clients make a full recovery and get back to doing what they love. This is what inspires me to keep learning, training and seeing clients every day!