“Hand Therapy is the art and science of rehabilitation of the upper limb – shoulder to hand. It involves evaluation and testing to assess the injured limb from which a specific treatment program can be designed. A variety of specialised treatment techniques are used to achieve these goals.”
Julie Condon, Director and Principle Hand Therapist of Advanced Health & Hand Therapy is a Full Member of the Australian Hand Therapy Association, and a Certified Hand Therapist.
Who is a Practitioner of Hand Therapy?
“Registered Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists who, through further education, clinical experience and independent study have become proficient in the treatment of upper limb conditions resulting from injury, disease or deformity.” (Australian Hand Therapy Association) The term ‘Hand Therapist’ is not able to be used until a Practitioner of Hand Therapy has become a Certified Hand Therapist.
- Practising qualified Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist with a minimum of three years equivalent full-time experience post graduation
- National registration with Allied Health P
- A current Associate of the AHTA for 12 months, or other IFHST recognised association
- Minimum 3600 hours experience as a practising hand therapy clinician within the last 5 years
- Letter of recommendation from a Member of the AHTA or AHSS
- Completion of 300 hours of professional development / education within the maximum time frame of the last five years, or current Certification of Hand Therapy (CHT) credential
Who is a Certified Hand Therapist?
A Certified Hand Therapist is the highest international recognition available for competency as a Practitioner of Hand Therapy. 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 (Hand Therapy Certification Commission). In order to achieve this title the following standard must be met:
- Minimum of five years of clinical experience as an Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist
- Minimum of 4,000 hours in direct practice in hand therapy
- Successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper quarter rehabilitation
- Every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years
Benefits of Working With a Certified Hand Therapist
‘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.
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.’ (Hand Therapy Certification Commission)