WARE — People value the use of their hands, and any loss of function through injury or accident can have a devastating effect on their lives. However, according to Kevin Smith, occupational therapist and certified hand therapist, at Baystate Rehabilitation at Mary Lane Hospital, hand therapy can provide treatment to ensure maximal recovery from an injury or illness.
“Patients who are candidates for hand therapy 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,” said Smith. “Others that would benefit from hand therapy include patients who suffer from the effects of conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow, chronic problems as arthritis, or the results of a neurologic condition like a stroke.”
Working as a hand therapist for the past six years, Smith has treated a variety of injuries such as those mentioned above to promote healing of injuries, provide protective splinting, and introduce therapeutic techniques to help patients regain the functional use of their hands and return to their activities of daily living.
“I became interested in hand therapy as a specialty while a student at Utica College of Syracuse University in upstate New York when one of my professors stated I would make a great hand therapist,” Smith said “I love my job and feel good about helping others through a period of injury to become more independent again.”
As a certified hand therapist, Smith has a minimum of five years of clinical experience as an occupational therapist, including 4,000 hours or more in direct practice in hand therapy. In addition, he has successfully passed a comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory in upper-quarter rehabilitation.
The rehabilitation team at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital includes physical therapists and physical therapy assistants, an occupational therapist, speech/language/swallowing pathologists, and audiologists. For more information about these services, including hand therapy, call (413) 967-2180.