Who is a Hand Therapist?
A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who has a minimum of five years of clinical experience, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, the Certified Hand Therapist has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation. Because of changes in the profession, every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years.
Benefits of Working with a CHT
Highest Level of Competency
People value the use of their hands and any loss of function through injury or accident may have a devastating effect on their lives. Anyone with an injury wants the very best of treatment to assure maximal recovery. The Certified Hand Therapist credential offers assurance to the public that the therapist has achieved the highest level of competency in the profession and stays up to date with practice within the field.
Complex, Technical Knowledge
The intricate anatomy of the arm and hand frequently requires very delicate surgery, often with microscopic techniques. The technical complexity of these kinds of surgeries necessitates a high level of competence by therapists with advanced skills in upper quarter rehabilitation during postoperative recovery. Therapists must be knowledgeable about these advanced surgical techniques and postoperative therapy programs to become CHTs. They must also remain current with changes in hand therapy practice.
Certification is voluntary and difficult to attain. It involves meeting rigorous standards, developing a long-range career path, and acquiring the advanced study and training required to pass the certification examination. CHTs are therapists who demonstrated a personal dedication to the profession of hand therapy and a desire for advanced competency; they bring to their work a commitment and dedication to reach and maintain the highest standards in their profession. The CHT credential is recognized by many professional organizations as a benchmark for excellence in advanced specialty credentialing in health care.
Physicians Physical Therapy Service’s hand program provides rehabilitation for a wide variety of hand and upper extremity injuries and disorders. All treatment programs are designed to address each patient’s deficits and needs, and closely attend to each physician’s orders. PPTS’s one-on-one treatment approach assures each patient of this customized and attentive care.
Conditions We Treat
Hand therapists are specialized in treating upper extremity conditions including:
- Traumatic injuries
- Fractures and dislocations
- Dupuytren’s contracture
- Sports injuries
- Tendon and nerve injuries
- Burns and frostbite
- Repetitive motion syndromes
- Complex regional pain syndrome / RSD
- Carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel, thoracic outlet syndrome, and other nerve entrapment disorders
- Tennis elbow and other types of tendonitis
Evaluation and Treatment
Following a thorough evaluation, an individualized treatment plan will be developed for each client and may include:
- Comprehensive evaluation and assessments
- Therapeutic Exercise: ROM, strengthening,
- Skin, scar, wound and edema care and management
- Manual therapy: scar/soft tissue and joint mobilization
- Neuromuscular re-education including fine motor and dexterity training
- Desensitization and sensory reeducation
- Therapeutic activities to restore function and address ADL needs
- Ergonomic assessment and modification
- Customized splint fabrication and progressive revision per POC
- Self management addressing joint protection, patient education, safety and prevention
- Progressive Home Exercise Program from day one through post DC
- Modalities (Fluidotherapy, Electrical Stimulation, Ultrasound, Heat, Ice) as needed.