Start of Main Content

Occupational Therapy and Hand Therapy FAQs

Which diagnoses can be helped with occupational hand therapy?

Conditions seen by the occupational hand therapist include fractures of the hand or arm, lacerations and amputations, burns, and surgical repairs of tendons and nerves. Acquired conditions such as tendonitis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome also are treated by hand specialists. All patients require a referral from a medical doctor (MD), physician assistant (PA) or nurse practitioner (NP).

What is the age range of patients that Atrius Health occupational therapists treat?

We provide services for hand and orthopedic injuries in people age 13 and up. Patients requiring more general occupational therapy services (i.e. pediatrics, adult stroke, neurological, home evaluation, etc.) will be referred outside of Atrius Health for appropriate care.

What makes the Atrius Health occupational therapy department different?

Atrius Health occupational therapists provide one on one treatment - at each appointment you will have the sole focus of the clinician. This is the distinguishing difference between Atrius Health and other therapy clinics. Our therapists can access the same electronic medical record as your primary care provider and orthopedist. This allows us to have a comprehensive picture of you as a patient, and that helps us to help you. Additionally, since we are part of Atrius Health, a multi-specialty medical group practice, we have easy access to your referring clinician if questions arise.

What kind of education does an occupational therapist have?

Occupational therapists are nationally registered and licensed health care professionals. Prior to practicing, they must obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from an accredited education program and pass a national certification examination (OTR). Occupational therapists are licensed by the state. They have extensive training in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, neurological sciences, disease and injury pathophysiology, and in skilled therapeutic treatment application. In addition, OTs and Hand Therapists who are “certified” hand therapists must also attend continuing education courses to stay abreast of the latest medical developments and treatment approaches.

How long does a therapy session last?

Initial evaluations typically last up to 30-60 minutes depending upon your diagnosis and follow up appointments are 30 minutes.

What should I wear to my occupational therapy appointments?

You should wear comfortable clothing to your appointment that allows easy access to your shoulder, elbow, hand and arm.

What can I do to get better while I'm at home?

Your therapist will work with you develop a comprehensive home program including range of motion exercises, stretching, strengthening, postural awareness, home self-ergonomic assessment and ice or heat. Our therapists provide information to educate not only our patients but also their families and other caregivers (when appropriate) about the patient's current condition, treatment plan, and future transition to home, work, or community roles.