Many patients come to us on a regular basis to receive therapy on their upper extremity. The talented practitioners to treat these patients are likely Certified Hand Therapists, or Occupational Therapists, working towards their certification process. As April is National Occupational Therapy Month, we wanted to take this time to share a bit more about the innovative fellowship program ARC Physical Therapy+ developed to help OT’s become Certified Hand Therapists.
It's #OTMonth and we're celebrating all April. Today we kick-off with an interview with Jan Taylor discussing our Certified Hand Therapy Fellowship program. #ARCPTplus
Posted by ARC Physical Therapy+ on Monday, April 2, 2018
According to the Hand Therapy Certification Commission, “A Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who has a minimum of three 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.”
The practice of hand therapy started back in the late ‘70’s as the techniques for surgical repair improved and the surgeons discovered that they needed therapists to help create good results and outcomes. Over the process of those 40 years, there’s been improved research, development, protocols, and products to aid in the practice of hand therapy, as well as better networking and integration of knowledge.
The program was developed by Jan Taylor and Jeff Weeks. Jan has been a practicing OT for over 40 years and a Certified Hand Therapist for over 25 years. Jeff Weeks, ARC’s COO and an OT for over 20 years had a vision to help ARC Physical Therapy+ be a leader in the field of Hand Therapy.
“As an employer, it is challenging to find qualified CHT’s in order to treat our growing patient population. We wanted to create a program within ARC Physical Therapy+ that would allow for new OT graduates to be able to perform clinically with the oversight of currently certified CHT’s we have on staff. It allows us to be a solution to a problem we think will continue to grow overtime. It also allows us to partner with local universities recent graduates, allowing them to start the process of certification, rather than having to wait the three years. It allowed us to create an environment that would be conducive to the clinician and ARC Physical Therapy+.”
This multifaceted program is designed to enhance our Occupational Therapist’s knowledge and critical decision making, so they can be the best therapist possible. The end goal is to help them be able to pass the CHT, but the focus is:
- Looking at current literature and evidence and applying it to the patients we treat
- Asking therapists to become critical decision makers
- Developing relationships with the surgeons-observing them in their clinic practice, in the operating room, to see surgery performed on patients they will treat
- Gaining an appreciation for the surgeons critical decision making process.
As for the future of hand therapy? These leaders have high hopes for what will happen as a result of this Fellowship Program.
Jeff said, “I hope to see more diversification. It is currently a narrow field. I would like to see CHT’s branch out into the functional aspect of hand therapy. I’d like to push therapists to think beyond the clinic, what return to work or return to function looks like beyond DIP Flexion or what grip strength is, and I think the environment at ARC Physical Therapy+ is conducive to doing that, and helping our therapists look at our patients in a different way.”
Interested in certified hand therapy? Contact your local clinic to learn more!