Improving outcomes for patients with hand injuries

25/Nov/2020     Health

You would never think how debilitating a hand injury could be until it happens to you. Our hands play an integral role in our lives as a quarter of the motor cortex in the human brain is devoted to controlling the muscles of the hands.

The Occupational Therapy department at Mater Hospital has a dedicated Hand Clinic designed to help patients recover from hand injury or illness impacting their hands while improving overall hand function and helping them get back to their daily tasks.

These Hand Therapy OT’s also work in the Plastic Surgery Specialist Clinic within a multidisciplinary team to manage acute and chronic hand injuries. Occupational Therapist and accredited Hand Therapist Rebecca Connors explains that the specialist clinic has seen some exciting changes which have streamlined operations and reduced wait times while improving patient referral pathways and overall efficiency.

"Our clinic is in very high demand, so we had to make some necessary changes which all our patients have really appreciated. Instead of waiting a long time in an overbooked clinic they are able to come more frequently to Hand Therapy where we offer their treatment one on one, in group sessions or even via telehealth where appropriate.” Rebecca said.  

“The process of recovering from a hand injury and rehabilitation can be quite extensive; patients impacted by injury are often in the clinic on average for three months whereas those with chronic conditions could attend in excess of six months.

“We can see many different types of patients, those with acute hand injuries normally acquired during sport, DIY or workplace accidents, burns and scar management, patients with conditions impacting their hand for example arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome including pregnant women who experience swelling of the hands.”

Occupational Therapist and Accredited Hand Therapist Danielle Heinemann explained the team can see patients referred from other departments of the hospital or GP and specialist referrals. 

“When a patient presents to the hospital with a hand injury, normally through our Emergency Department, timing is critical. Ideally, we would like to get them in contact with our team straight away to begin their rehabilitation where appropriate,” Danielle said.

“We also work closely with our Plastic and Reconstructive Surgical team and Orthopaedic Department to ensure we are taking a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. We also incorporate other allied health specialists into their care especially if they are needing emotional support.

“Thanks to these improvements and collaborations with other departments the clinic is now thriving.  We offer custom splinting for our patients and can provide therapy via teleheath and group sessions.  It’s a service we’re really proud to provide here at Mater.”

Additional Information and Resources

For patients wishing to know more about Mater’s Occupational Therapy services please telephone 07 3163 6000 Monday to Friday, 7.30 am to 4.30 pm.

Public relations contacts

07 3163 6142