JESSICA ABRAHAM, OT, CHT
OCW: What attracted you to the field of hand therapy?
Jessica Abraham: I became interested in hand therapy through a clinical affiliation while I was in graduate school. I found the anatomy of the hand and upper extremity interesting and challenging. Our hands are such an integral part of our bodies and any limitations can have a significant impact on our ability to complete daily tasks.
OCW: What kind of specific hand issues are you able to help with OT hand therapy?
Jessica Abraham: We focus on a variety of orthopedic and neurological hand conditions, including fractures, tendon repairs, strokes, arthritis, and repetitive strain injuries, as well as post-surgical cases. We offer personalized treatment programs to address a variety of hand conditions. As hand therapists, we are able to fabricate and fit custom splints for our clients to protect an injury, prevent deformity, and promote increased hand function.
OCW: How has the use of cell phones and computers affected the amount of clientele that you see?
Has there been a big increase?
Jessica Abraham: Cell phone and computer use could lead to repetitive strain injuries in the hand and wrist. We have not seen an increase in clientele due to cell phone and computer use specifically; however, there has been an upward trend in tendonitis of the thumb, sometimes referred to as texting thumb, over the past couple of years. I’m sure that we will start to see an increase in clientele with these symptoms as the use of technology progresses.
MARIAN NASHED, MSOT, OTR/L
OCW: What are the most common hand conditions that you treat? Marian Nashed: The most common hand conditions that we treat include everything from arthritic conditions, trigger finger, Dupuytren’s disease, and fractures of the hand, elbow, and wrist. We also treat carpal instabilities, flexor/extensor tendon injuries, and peripheral nerve injuries, such as carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel syndrome.
OCW: What attracted you to the field of occupational therapy?
Marian Nashed: As a biology major, I began to shadow various healthcare professionals to ultimately decide my career choice. As soon as I shadowed a hand therapist, I knew that it was the career choice for me. I chose occupational therapy to become a hand therapist. In fact, 85% of hand therapists are occupational therapists.
ASHLEY INTILE, OT
OCW: Tell us what you enjoy the most about working in hand therapy.
Ashley Intile: I enjoy the challenge and reward of giving people their lives back. We see many different injuries and chronic conditions that have a significant impact on an individual’s life. Every patient is unique, so I enjoy getting to know the person and understanding his or her needs so I can help them reach goals that are meaningful and purposeful to them.
OCW: What is the most challenging part about working with adults with weakness on one side of the
body, known as hemiparesis?
Ashley Intile: In an outpatient setting, we typically treat adults with hemiparesis resulting from a stroke. With a neurological deficit, everyone heals differently and therefore the outcomes differ as well. The recovery from a stroke can take up to a year or longer and have a significant impact on the patient and their family’s lifestyle, which makes it morechallenging to treat. However, we are able to help provide patients with an individualized treatment plan focusing on stretching and strengthening exercises, and a custom-fabricated splint if needed. Additionally, we supply them with a personalized home exercise program and the resources needed to return to their daily activities.
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