Hand Therapists

Common Questions About Occupational Therapists and Certified Hand Therapists

What is an occupational therapist?

An occupational therapist, referred to as an OT, is a healthcare professional licensed to practice occupational therapy. Occupational therapists are practitioners who have a holistic approach, with not only focus on the science, but each person's cognitive, perception, physical and personal well-being as well. They utilize a hands-on approach to adapting each individuals environment and/or tasks to regain a person's function in basic activities of daily living to return to leisure and work abilities.

What is a hand therapist?

A hand therapist is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who, through advanced study and experience, specializes in treating individuals with conditions affecting the hands and upper extremity. The hand therapist can effectively treat and rehabilitate the patient through post-operative rehabilitation, preventative, non-operative or conservative treatment or industry consultation. The therapist works closely with the physician and patient to provide a continuum of care. This can often start within days of the injury or surgery right through the patient’s return to work and/or a productive lifestyle.

What is a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT)?

Becoming a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) requires 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. Because of changes in the profession, every CHT is required to demonstrate continued professional development and competency by recertifying every five years.

Who is a candidate for hand therapy?

Candidates for hand therapy are people who may have been affected by an accident or trauma leaving them with wounds, scars, burns, injured tendons or nerves, fractures, or even amputations of the fingers, hands or arms. Others include patients who suffer from conditions repetitive in nature such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow. Additionally, hand therapy serves patients with chronic problems such as poor posture, arthritis or a neurological condition to adapt and preserve function and independence.

What are the benefits to working with a hand therapist?

  • Accurate Assessment of Injuries
  • Individualized Treatment Plans (Non-invasive if possible or Pre and Post-Operative if necessary)
  • Faster Recovery Time
  • Improved Functional Outcomes

Will my insurance pay for me to see a hand therapist?

It is customary for insurance to cover services rendered by occupational therapists. We recommend checking with your insurance company to understand your occupational therapy coverage.