What is hand therapy?
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 programme can be designed.
What is a hand therapist?
A hand therapist is an occupational therapist or physiotherapists who has completed additional training to become specialised in the management of hand, wrist, arm and shoulder problems.
They are members of the Australian Hand Therapy Association (AHTA) and strive for excellence in quality, evidence-based care.
Hand therapists ensure they stay up-to-date with current evidence by regularly reading relevant scientific journals; being involved in interest group discussions and lectures; and attending national and international conferences and workshops.
Our hand therapists liaise closely with the client, doctors, surgeons, employers, rehabilitation providers and allied health professionals to ensure they are receiving the best possible treatment for your condition.
Who can benefit from hand therapy?
Any person who has a problem with any part of their upper limb may benefit from hand therapy. These include:
- Fractures, joint injuries and dislocations
- Nerve injuries, compressions and repairs (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, brachial plexus injuries)
- Tendon injuries
- Sporting injuries (e.g. tennis and golfers elbow)
- Work related injuries
- Skin grafts and flaps
- Post-surgical conditions
- Congenital abnormalities
- Pain conditions (e.g. complex regional pain syndrome)
- Amputations, complex trauma and reconstructions
- Problems with writing or performing other fine motor activities
Payment options and subsidies:
- Medicare Australia:
- Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA):
Under the Chronic Disease Management Program, Medicare rebates are available for patients with chronic and complex care needs on referral from their GP. Additional rebates may also be applicable for those with diabetes and those identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
Entitled DVA clients may be eligible for services under a valid D904 referral form.
All therapists are workcover and TAC approved. GP referral required.
Frequently asked questions
- Do I need a doctor’s referral?
- Is there a cancellation policy?
- Are Flex Out Physiotherapy preferred providers to any private health funds?
- Is there funding available for hand therapy services?
- Is there a waiting list to access hand therapy services?
- Can I just see a general physiotherapist for my hand problem?
- How often do I need to attend for treatment?
- I want a cast I can swim and shower in - is this possible?
- I’ve only just had surgery, isn’t it too early to begin therapy?
In Australia, physiotherapists and occupational therapists are first contact practitioners, so a referral is not required to attend for treatment. There are however, a few exceptions (motor vehicle third party claims and Medicare claims) where you will need to see your doctor prior to attending.
At Flex Out Physiotherapy we understand people get busy and from time to time, emergencies come up and things change. If you cannot keep your appointment, please call us as soon as possible so we can reschedule your appointment. We require a minimum of eight-hours notice prior to your appointment so we can have time to offer your appointment to someone else.
Yes. Flex Out Physiotherapy are a preferred provider for both Medibank and BUPA which provides members with additional discounts and maximum rebates on services.
In some instances, there is Medicare or other funded services available. Speak with your doctor to see if you might be eligible.
No, there is currently no waiting list for hand therapy.
Hand therapists can be either physiotherapists or occupational therapists. They have undertaken specific training, courses and exams in upper limb management to ensure you receive the highest standard of care.
The frequency of your visits will depend on your problem. Factors to consider include your injury, where you live, whether you have a wound or splint to monitor, and how well you are progressing.
Yes! If you have a waterproof lining in a synthetic cast, you can. However, if you are going to the beach, or someplace particles are likely to get inside the cast, you may need a special cover over your cast.
No. It is important to offer education and advice regarding your procedure early to prevent later complications. Attending in the first few days after surgery enables us to focus on control of swelling and pain, change dressings where required, and maintain mobility in unaffected joints.