Hand Therapy

Hand therapy helps patients with a variety of disorders and injuries of the hand, arm, wrist and fingers, return to some semblance of mobility, which they may have had previously before injury.

Beacon Hospital have a number of specialized Occupational Therapists, who have studied and practiced occupational therapy in relation to hand therapy. These OT’s work closely with other specialists, including our orthopedic surgeons and rehabilitation consultants to ensure you receive the best expertise and care that’s possible to give.

Hand therapy is extremely useful for patients who suffer with any of the following ailments; Hand trauma, sports related injuries, amputations and reattachments, hand and arm challenges from strokes, peripheral nerve disorders and other neurological conditions.

Hand care and therapy can include a number of various treatments. We’re committed to finding a remedy for any issue you face, guiding you on returning to full hand mobility.

Treatments we carry out include:

  • Scar Tissue Management

    Scar tissue is a grouping of cells and collagen which covers an injury. This generally happens to the body as a result of an injury, surgery or acne. Even for the likes of heart attack patients, scar tissue could be left around the heart muscle.

    As treatment for Scare Tissue, OT’s will use special massage techniques, which can help loosen the adhesion and ensure that proper remodeling takes place.

  • Joint Protection and Energy Conservation

    Patients who are recovering form procedures like Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, Tendonitis or Stress-Related Injuries may require some OT treatment in a scheme or plan to returning to their vocational/working lifestyles.

    Patients must understand that after a surgical procedure or injury, you cannot automatically return to work without any treatment.

    OT’s will advise and take care of patients returns to work, adapting a plan or exercise programme to build strength and confidence, based on the individual’s needs.

  • Edema Management

    Edema is swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in your body’s tissues. It can include swelling or puffiness, stretched or shiny skin, skin that retains a dimple after being pressed for several seconds or increased abdominal size.

    If therapy is not sought for edema, it can trigger other problems such as pain, lack of motion, scar tissue and decreased arm function of the hand and arm. OT’s can advice patients on how to manage their Edema, to ensure that it does not progress to worse stages.

  • Sensitization/Sensory re-education

    Sensory limitations in the hand can be caused by alternative injuries such as carpal and cubital tunnel syndrome, surgical complications and various issues including edema or heavy scar tissue.

    To combat this, OT’s will confront the senses with education, exercises and rehab. With guidance and support, patients are given the tools to comeback from their desensitization.

Our Team:

Michelle O’Donnell BSc (Hons) Professional Development Dip COT

Michelle O’Donnell is a Clinical Specialist Occupational therapist in hand and upper limb trauma and burns at St James’s Hospital and works as a generic hand therapist combining the skills of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy. She graduated from the University of Ulster in 1984 with a Diploma in Occupational Therapy and completed an Hons degree in 1994 in Prof. Dev. She spent the first ten years of her career working in the UK, Australia and NI predominately in rehabilitation services for head injuries, burns and spinal cord injury. She took up a senior post in Plastic surgery and Burns at St James’s Hospital in 1994 and was upgraded to clinical specialist in 2002. Michelle has gained extensive experience in the management and treatment of hand and upper limb conditions/injuries through her work in the public and private sector.

She has completed numerous accredited courses specific to the treatment of upper limb trauma and burns. She has been actively involved in clinical audit of flexor and extensor tendon repairs and peripheral nerve injuries at St James’s Hospital for many years, with a view to modifying practice and improving clinical outcomes. She is a member of AOTI, and BAHT and has been an active committee member of the IAHT for the past 15 years, organising courses and conferences for OT’s and Physiotherapists with an interest in developing skills and expertise in Hand Injuries.

She formed Hand Dynamics with three other hand therapists in 2003 and runs BAHT accredited hand therapy courses for OT’s and Physiotherapists in Ireland and the UK. In 2012 Michelle successfully passed her certified hand therapy exam. This is a comprehensive test of advanced knowledge related to the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. This certification supports her competence to practise hand therapy.

Olga Hill BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, Certified Hand Therapist

Olga Hill graduated from University of Ulster, Jordanstown in 2002 with a first class honours degree in occupational therapy. Olga also holds a National Certificate in Applied Physiology and Health Science, which she completed in 1998. Olga then worked in The Adelaide & Meath Hospital, Incorporating the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, for three years.  Here she gained experience in orthopaedic outpatients and inpatients, stroke, chronic pain, age–related healthcare and neurology. She then moved to St. James’s Hospital, Dublin in 2005 where she was senior occupational therapist for 6 years in burns and plastic reconstructive surgery.  Here she has devised specialised skills in upper limb assessment, treatment and the fabrication of custom made static, static progressive, serial and dynamic splints to suit any upper limb diagnosis.

On returning to Tallaght Hospital, Olga now assesses and treats upper limb injuries within orthopaedics. In 2012 she successfully passed her certified hand therapy exam.  This is a comprehensive test of advanced knowledge related to the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder.  This certification supports her competence to practice hand therapy. Olga works on a sessional basis at Beacon Hospital specialising in the treatment and rehabilitation of elective or trauma upper limb injuries/surgeries. She has made a lifelong commitment to hand therapy and is an active member of the Irish Association of Hand Therapists and the British Association of Hand Therapists.

Appointments and referrals:

Opening Hours:

  • Monday
    9am to 6pm
    Tuesday
    9am to 6pm
    Wednesday
    9am to 1pm
    Thursday
    9am to 6pm
    Friday
    9am to 5pm