What is a hand therapist?
A hand therapist is an occupational therapist or physical therapist who, through advanced study and experience, specialises in treating conditions affecting the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. At HULC our hand therapists are trained to the highest standard, with senior specialists having a minimum of five years clinical experience. In addition, our hand therapists have the added advantage of being trained by world-renowned hand surgeon Mr Jeff Ecker, who provides a more in-depth knowledge and understanding of upper limb conditions and solutions.
What is the difference between an occupational therapist and a physiotherapist?
Occupational therapy is a holistic health care profession that aims to help people live as independently as possible whilst physiotherapy aims to increase mobility and function.
When do you need a hand therapist?
A hand therapist is needed when pain, dysfunction, trauma or disease occur within the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow and/or shoulder. Due to the complexity of the hand, a hand therapist is your best choice for rehabilitation as they are specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of the upper limb.
Who do HULC treat?
We treat patients aged 2 and up through to the elderly. Patients under the age of 2 can be treated at the Perth Children’s Hospital. Our patients range from professional athletes and sportspeople, to musicians, students, business professionals and everyone else in-between.
Do I need to see a doctor before I can come for hand therapy?
No, if you are a private patient you can self-refer. Alternatively, your GP may refer you to HULC for treatment. However, workers’ compensation insurance companies require a GP’s referral in order to pay for therapy services.
What should I bring with me on my first visit?
Is there anything I should do before my first visit?
If you have swelling, elevating the swollen area above the heart can assist with drainage. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for good healing as well as eating a healthy diet. Hold off all exercise until cleared by either your GP or therapist.
How long will my appointment take?
The initial appointment usually takes approximately 45 minutes. Appointments can range from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on your condition and treatment.
What do you treat?
Our hand therapists treat injuries and conditions located between, and including, the fingertips to the upper arm. Please note we do NOT treat neck or head injuries.
When should you arrive for your appointment?
Please arrive 10-15 minutes early for your first appointment to allow time to complete your new patient registration forms. When you arrive at HULC, our clinical assistant will review the forms with you and clarify invoicing and charges.
What clothing should I wear to my hand therapy appointment?
Your therapist will be taking you through a series of movements to assess your injury, so we recommend wearing a T-shirt or another garment that allows movement and ease of access. Lotion is used during some forms of treatment, so please take that into consideration.
What should I expect on my first visit?
Your therapist will perform an evaluation, which entails taking a detailed medical history and performing appropriate tests and measurements, in order to develop a treatment plan with functional goals.
Where will I be treated?
Will my therapy hurt?
Therapy should not cause pain, but certain exercises could cause achiness on the day after therapy. Because of that possibility, we do our best to schedule your therapy sessions at least one day apart. If you are in pain, talk with your therapist. Even when your pain is gone, you should continue therapy until your therapist discharges you from treatment. Our goal is to get you permanent results! If you self-discharge early, it is possible your pain will return and you may need to start the rehabilitation process over again.
What kind of results can I expect with my therapy?
At each visit, your therapist will perform, instruct and supervise your treatment. As you reach specific goals you will progress to new levels, treatments, exercises and activities. In most cases, patients have more than one therapy appointment each week. After completing therapy most patients experience full range of motion, but obviously this depends on the original condition or injury.
Can I schedule my appointments in advance?
We recommend patients schedule as many future appointments as possible to ensure you receive the appointment times that best fit your schedule.
Will I have to do exercises at home?
Before the end of your first visit your therapist will train you on exercises you need to perform at home. Your home program is an important part of the healing process and will help you achieve your goals. This program will be revised as you continue your course of therapy.
Do I have to inform my GP/surgeon on my progress?
No, your therapist will maintain regular contact with your doctor, surgeon and/or case manager to ensure timely updates on your progress.
Do you custom-make your splints?
All our splints are made to measure for each of our patients, while you wait, and are usually made at your first appointment. Depending on your condition, you may need more than one splint during your recovery program.
How much does a same-day custom-made splint cost?
Our splints cost between $20 for a small thumb splint to $220 for a jointed hinged splint. Most private health insurance companies reimburse the cost of splints over $100. Please note we advise you check your level of cover with your private health fund prior to your consultation.
If my splint or brace breaks, where can I get a replacement?
Please call our clinic to check if your splint can be repaired or needs to be replaced. Please do not leave your splint in the sun, or in a hot car, as it will melt!
How much does an appointment cost at HULC?
The first appointment is usually about 45 minutes long and costs $120.20. Subsequent appointments usually cost between $57.50 to $92, depending how much time is needed.
Do I need to have private health insurance?
No, you do not. You can pay privately for each appointment, or you can use your private health insurance. However, we highly recommend you check if your policy covers occupational therapy prior to your consultation. Alternatively, workers’ compensation cases are covered by the employer’s insurance.
Is there a fee for missing an appointment?
If less than 24 hours’ notice is given the fee for missing an appointment is $80.00. All fees are payable by cash, check, or credit card.