It looks like our lovely long run of mild weather has come to a crushing end with the winter blasts of recent weeks giving us all an icy reminder that yes, we do in fact live in Melbourne.
Of course, the ski bunnies out there will be in a frenzy as our slopes and resorts defy early predictions of a lacklustre season and have snow just dumping down.
On that note, look out for our social media pages over the coming months to learn about the most common ski/snowboard injuries we see at MHT – and we see a lot - and how best to avoid them.
Some exciting news this month - MHT is launching a new, but similar, name.
In addition to Melbourne Hand Therapy, we will also be known as Melbourne Hand and Upper Limb Clinic.
This decision comes down to recognising our specialty areas.
For 25 years, Melbourne Hand Therapy has predominately focused on rehabilitation of the hand, wrist, and elbow.
However, over the last 10 years, we have employed physiotherapists that also specialise in shoulder rehabilitation.
We decided to embrace this with a name change.
That way all our “shoulder patients” feel more comfortable knowing that they have come to the right place.
In other news, popular physio Dane Johnson has decided to expand his public health practice to gain experience in complex trauma cases and post-surgical care.
For the next 12 months, Dane will be working three days a week at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. This will give Dane the perfect combination of public and private work and invaluable clinical experience and insight. We are very excited for him.
Finally, a huge thank you to MHT physio and my friend Kim McCall for joining me at last week’s Australasian Sonographers Association Conference for a presentation on the use of ultrasound as a therapeutic tool for hands and upper limbs. It was daunting to face an international audience of experts, but our preparation paid off and the post-presentation questions were fantastic.
In this month’s newsletter, Dane Johnson writes about the innovative telehealth practices that he and his colleagues were forced to develop when they found themselves stuck in a strict UK COVID lockdown. Brilliant innovation.
And occupational therapist, Jaime Do, shares his experience of a recent fracture management course. And he also braves our Fast Five questions.
Stay warm and stay safe on the slopes.
Have a good month.
MHT occupational therapist Jaime Do loved getting back among people when he took part in the AHTA’s intensive Fracture Management course.
Just don’t ask him about the sewing machine.
Last month, I had the privilege of attending the Australian Hand Therapy Association’s comprehensive Fracture Management course in a face-to-face capacity.
It was such a relief to be with people again rather than just staring at them on a screen.
The course covered treatment options for fractures from a distal phalanx break at the tips of the fingers to those of the elbow joint. It was a fantastic opportunity to expand my knowledge and skills with managing fractures and using the most current evidence-based information.
The intensive course included a practical skill development component which enabled us attendees to practice traction splinting and sewing finger buddy sleeves. I have to confess; the successful operation of a sewing machine continues to be a work in progress for me.
With this in mind, I only photographed the hand-based swing traction orthoses that I fabricated during the course (for an uninjured finger).
I look forward to continuing to work with upper limb fracture patients and their healthcare teams to minimise the risk of injury complications and to ensure the best possible functional outcomes are achieved.
While working in the UK, MHT’s popular physiotherapist Dane Johnson found himself at the heart of the country’s Covid epidemic. Mandated to work via telehealth, Dane and his colleagues were forced to innovate to care for their patients. Next month, Dane will present his findings of the surprising success of those innovations at an international conference of hand therapists and surgeons being held in London. Go, Dane!
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was working in the UK in the National Health Service (NHS) which is the biggest healthcare provider in the world.
At the beginning of the first wave, in order to try to “flatten the curve” (or “squash the sombrero” as Boris Johnson was fond of saying) the NHS converted all outpatient appointments to telehealth.
In the area of hand therapy, where we are used to being able to get “hands-on” with our patients, this was challenging! We had to work out new ways of assessing, measuring and treating hand conditions remotely.
One technique that we developed was measuring patients’ finger movements by getting them to hold their hands up to the camera while we took a screenshot of it.
If you’ve ever had hand therapy before, you know that we often place a tool called a goniometer against your fingers or wrist to measure your movement. Instead, we started placing the goniometer against the screenshot to take our measurements.
Our scientific backgrounds told us that we needed to evaluate whether we could get consistently similar results when measuring with this technique. In other words, was it reliable? And so a couple of colleagues and I set up a study, asking 27 of our fellow therapists to take measurements from a set of screenshots that we’d taken and then compare them for reliability.
The results were good! We used intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and 95% confidence intervals, as well as calculating mean and standard deviations to show that this method has good reliability. I will be presenting a scientific paper detailing the study and its findings at the IFSSH, IFSHT & FESSH Combined Conference for hand therapists and surgeons in London in June.
Meanwhile, one of the upsides of the pandemic is that we’re learning that there are lots of hand therapy conditions that can be managed well over telehealth. So if there’s something stopping you from coming into the clinic, you can book a telehealth session instead.
For this month’s newsletter, we place Jaime Do, an experienced occupational therapist, under the Fast Five microscope. Jaime works across our northern and eastern practices and started his professional life as a bank teller in Canada before completing a commerce degree. He changed tack when he realised he was more suited to “helping people”.
What football team do you support and why?
I don’t follow the footy. I just support the team my patients tell me to barrack for.
What are you reading at the moment?
Grit by Angela Duckworth.
What is your guilty streaming pleasure?
Survivor. We’re up to 42 seasons and it’s still going. It must be good, right?
What do you do to relax?
Having a hit of the tennis court or sweating it out in the gym.
What was your first job?
During high school, I worked as an ice cream scooper.