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California Occupational Therapy Hand Therapy Practice 

“Hand therapy” is the art and science of rehabilitation of the hand, wrist, and forearm requiring comprehensive knowledge of the upper extremity and specialized skills in assessment and treatment to prevent dysfunction, restore function, or reverse the advancement of pathology. This definition is not intended to prevent an occupational therapist practicing hand therapy from providing other occupational therapy services authorized under this act in conjunction with hand therapy.

An occupational therapist providing hand therapy services shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the board that he or she has completed post professional education and training in all of the following areas:

  • Anatomy of the upper extremity and how it is altered by pathology.
  • Histology as it relates to tissue healing and the effects of immobilization and mobilization on connective tissue.
  • Muscle, sensory, vascular, and connective tissue physiology.
  • Kinesiology of the upper extremity, such as biomechanical principles of pulleys, intrinsic and extrinsic muscle function, internal forces of muscles, and the effects of external forces.
  • The effects of temperature and electrical currents on nerve and connective tissue.
  • Surgical procedures of the upper extremity and their postoperative course.

Hand therapy services may be performed only when an occupational therapist has demonstrated to the Board in an application filed that he or she has met the post professional education and training requirements established by this section as follows:

Education: Completion of forty-five (45) contact hours in the subjects listed above, including thirty (30) hours specifically relating to the hand, wrist, and forearm.

Training: Completion of 480 hours of supervised on-the-job training, clinical internship or affiliation, which may be paid or voluntary, pertaining to hand therapy.

An occupational therapist whose application provides proof of current certification as a Certified Hand Therapist, issued by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission, shall be deemed to have met the education and training requirements established by this section.

An occupational therapist providing hand therapy services using physical agent modalities must also comply with the requirements below.  A maximum of eight (8) contact hours and sixty (60) hours of supervised on-the-job training, clinical internship or affiliation, paid or voluntary, completed will be credited toward the requirements of this section.

An occupational therapist may provide only those hand therapy services he or she is competent to perform.

Citations

Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 2570.2

Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 2570.3

Cal. Code Regs., tit. 16 § 4151

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