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University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Hand therapy

The Hand Therapy Unit aims to provide comprehensive and individual care for all patients with problems affecting the forearm, wrist or hand. 

This includes patients referred following hand or wrist injury, surgery, work related problems or with conditions such as arthritis.

Our clinical expertise and practice is based on a core of professional knowledge, values and skills, supported by post graduate training and current research.

The service is provided by occupational therapists (OT) and physiotherapists (PT) with highly specialised skills in the assessment, management and treatment of wrist and hand problems.

The therapists work collaboratively with other health professionals to deliver high quality care. We encourage our patients to be actively involved in the assessment and treatment process. This includes goal setting to ensure individual functional needs are addressed.

We currently also run two group sessions:

  • The hand and wrist rehabilitation group (see below) is run twice a week to help people regain further use of their hand(s) following a one to one assessment. The group offers the opportunity for more intensive rehabilitation.
  • The Osteoarthritis (OA) of the thumb self-management group is run by a qualified hand therapist to help teach individuals the skills to manage their thumb pain more effectively. Attendance is arranged following a direct referral into the group. It will cover: What osteoarthritis  is; how exercise can help; how splints can help & joint protection techniques.

Exercises and patient leaflets for various hand injuries and conditions can be found by clicking here

Hand and wrist class

You may be referred into the hand and wrist class by your NHS physiotherapist, to see your NHS physiotherapist will need a referral from your GP, consultant or via NHS staff self referral scheme from occupational health.

Hand/Wrist rehabilitation group is run to help people regain further use of their hand(s). The group will give you the opportunity for more intensive therapy. The programme will consist of an evidence based exercise circuit of 12 stations, each has plenty of equipment to help with your rehabilitation. You will spend a minute and a half at each, then can choose a further four stations based upon your preference. Remember to take things at your own pace.

Classes are supervised by a qualified member of staff and managed by a senior physiotherapist.

Classes are held twice weekly, run in a group format, usually you will agree an amount with your physiotherapist at time of booking.

The classes run:

Monday 2.45-3.45pm

Thursday 2.45-3.45pm

We do not run sessions on bank holidays.

The circuits class is run in the hand therapy room which is located on the lower ground floor, entrance eight.

Please report to the physiotherapy outpatients reception on arrival, then take a seat in the reception waiting area and you will be called into the class.

  • If you have been referred directly from the out of plaster clinic will you be asked to arrive ten minutes early to allow the therapist to do some baseline measurements.
  • Following your last session you may be asked to stay for about ten minutes extra.  This will allow the therapist to do some final measurements to assess if the exercises have been effective.
  • Please wear suitably loose clothing for an active class such as t-shirt.
  • If unable to attend please let us know 0300 019 2121. If we are not informed this will go down as a ‘did not attend’. You will then be discharged and this will be corresponded to your GP.
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