Certified hand therapists (CHT) usually work in an outpatient setting with patients who are experiencing hand injuries, diseases, and strains so that pain is eased and functionality is restored. Prior to administering therapy, certified hand therapists must review patients' records for their history and prior diagnoses, and they may also administer questionnaires to patients to obtain further information. HIPAA and other confidentiality regulations must be followed at all times in this position.
Strong written and verbal communication skills are important for CHTs in order to work well with patients and medical providers. They must develop plans of care based on a physician’s orders, and short- or long-term goals may be established depending on the patient’s needs. Tests and measurements should be administered periodically to monitor the progress being made, and each treatment should be documented in a detailed manner, including details about progression and regression of function or pain and anything adverse that occurred. CHTs usually work with the patient's other medical providers in order to update his/her plan of care, coordinate services, or report any negative occurrences. Patients should also be instructed on exercise programs to be completed at home, any safety issues that may be encountered, and how to care for the injured hand until it has healed.
A master's degree in physical or occupational therapy and certification as a hand therapist are required for this position, and prior experience can be obtained from internships and previous employment.
Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) Tasks
Develop hand therapy treatment plans specific to patient needs.
Evaluate and provide treatment for patients needing hand therapy services.
Perform static and dynamic splinting treatment.
Supervise therapy assistants and aides during therapy sessions.