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Occupational Therapy: How To Find A Hand Therapist Who Can Help You

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Whether you have a medical issue, a recent injury, or a long-term condition that's acting up, occupational therapy can help you to improve your motor functions and get better use of your hands. Having hand therapy can increase your range of motion, give you an improved sense of psychological well-being, and help you get back to your everyday life. If your doctor or surgeon has recommended occupational therapy, finding the right occupation therapist (OT) for you is a must-do. How do you choose a hand therapist professional? Check out these tips for finding an OT who can truly help you.

Licensed Therapists

OTs are licensed by the states where they work. The specific requirements vary depending on the state laws, but most require OTs to graduate from an occupational therapy educational program from an accredited school, complete fieldwork, and pass the National Board for Certification of Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) exam. Some therapist practices and healthcare centers employ OT aides or assistants. These are paraprofessionals who have taken coursework or completed a certificate/associate degree in OT assisting. While they can help therapists, they are not licensed. Make sure that the primary therapist who you see is licensed and oversees any aids or assistants who will work with you.

Therapy Partners

The hand therapy that you're getting in the office needs to transfer to your home and work lives. For this to happen, you need to become partners with your therapist. This means that the OT should include you in your therapy, giving you work to do at home. Look for an OT who has strong communication skills and makes partnering with you a priority.

Comfort Level

Your comfort level is key to your success. If you don't feel comfortable with the OT, you may not want to go to therapy or you may not get much out of it. This doesn't mean that your therapist needs to become your brand new BFF. Instead, the OT should make you feel at ease, explain everything that they're doing to you and encourage you to ask questions when you aren't sure about the therapy or the rehabilitation process.

Along with the professional and personal (such as comfort level) issues, you also need to think about the logistical parts of occupational therapy. Getting to your appointments is absolutely essential. If the office is on the other side of town and you can only go during your lunch break from work or if they don't have appointments that match your schedule, you probably won't go to therapy. Look for an office or therapy center that works seamlessly into your life.