A hand therapy clinic is helping Gold Coast patients waiting for surgery to begin treatment and return to pain-free symptom-free full health sooner.
Martin Wullschleger, Clinical Director for Surgical, Anaesthetics and Procedural Services said the Primary Contact Hand Therapy Clinic was delivering real outcomes for patients living with carpal tunnel syndrome, trigger finger, de Quervain’s disease and osteoarthritis.
“Instead of waiting to see an orthopaedic surgeon, almost 350 patients have already been booked or started treatment with an occupational therapist or physiotherapist skilled in hand therapy,” Dr Wullschleger said.
“These are category two and category three patients identified through the orthopaedic surgeon triage process as potentially benefitting from hand therapy.”
Gold Coast Health continues to meet national targets for treating elective surgery patients within the recommended timeframes across all categories.
Occupational therapists Anna Scott and Ashleigh Andrews lead the clinic which runs five days a week at Gold Coast University Hospital.
“We meet with patients, assess their concerns, determine their treatment needs, liaise with the orthopaedic surgeons as appropriate, provide treatment and determine if patients still need to be on the surgery waitlist,” Ms Scott said.
“We had a woman in her 40s with trigger finger. We made splints, gave her some exercises and liaised with the orthopaedic team to arrange a cortisone injection.
“When she came back for review she was symptom-free. She told me she was leaving that appointment to go straight to a paddle boarding date with her friends.
This wouldn’t have been possible before when she had the trigger finger.
“The feedback about the clinic has been very positive with our patients so grateful for the assistance and reduced waiting time,” she said.
“It’s helping our patients be more informed about their whole treatment journey. If they still need surgery, the process will be much quicker.”
Similar hand therapy clinics have proven successful at other hospitals including Sunshine Coast University Hospital, Logan, QEII and The Prince Charles Hospital.