Previously named Hand Therapy Awareness & Injury Prevention Week, this event is an opportunity for hand therapists and healthcare professionals to raise awareness of how hand therapy prevents and ameliorates disability due to hand injury or disease. The event is celebrated through community and local media outreach, promotional events at local clinics, partnerships with hand surgeons and hospitals, dissemination of information to patients and special recognition of hand therapists at clinics.
Physical or occupational therapists by trade, hand therapists achieve specialization through additional training and experience. Additionally, therapists can obtain certified hand therapist (CHT) designation with a minimum of five years of clinical experience and by meeting necessary requirements.
“Hand health and injury prevention is crucial for individuals in all walks of life, especially in this digital age where many of us use hand operated electronic tools to perform so many tasks of work and daily life,” says ASHT President Joy MacDermid, BScPT, PhD.. “The importance of work done by hand therapists cannot be understated. As hand therapists we do more than treat injuries – we help people with hand problems resume health and meaningful activities.”
MacDermid says the new name of the event should help underscore the value of specialized care and the importance of maximizing hand function to keep people healthy.
Hand therapists help restore functional activity through specialized skills in assessment and treatment. They also specialize in prevention of hand injuries, by providing guidelines and exercises suitable for use with everyday activities such as gardening, cooking and use of portable electronics.