New Rapid Access Hands Service

Patients requiring care for a hand injury can now access treatment earlier following the introduction of a new rapid access hand therapy service at The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH).

Patient Jennifer Hart with Advanced Occupational Therapist, Kylie Bebel

The service allows patients who present to TPCH Emergency Department with a hand or forearm injury to be referred directly to an in-house occupational therapist, who can assess their injury early and commence the necessary treatment.

Traditionally, patients who present to an emergency department with a hand injury are referred to a hospital fracture clinic, which can sometimes take a number of weeks.

Advanced Occupational Therapist, Kylie Bebel said that the most common injuries seen are metacarpal (hand) fractures, finger dislocations, and finger mallet injuries, and surgical management of these injuries is not often required.

“Injuries to our hands can impact day-to-day function including people’s capacity to work, so it is important that they can access therapy earlier to help restore normal function as quickly as possible,” Kylie said.

Patient, Jennifer Hart was referred to the new service following a fall at her Murrumba Downs home which resulted in a fracture to her middle finger.

Jennifer presented to TPCH Emergency Department and was seen by an occupational therapist (OT) from the new service within 15 minutes.

“The OT took me straight to their clinic, where they assessed my injury, gave me some exercises, and made a plastic guard (thermoplastic splint) for my finger,” Jennifer said.

“They explained my injury in great detail and made me feel comfortable about continuing to use my finger, even though it was injured.

“Being treated so quickly after my injury meant that I was able to start my rehabilitation straight away and return to my work as a pharmacy assistant without any time off. It was fantastic.

Kylie said that the new rapid access model allows patients like Jennifer to access timely assessment and treatment of their injury.

“It means patients can get the care that they need quickly without waiting, which is important in helping people return to their normal day-to-day activities including work,” Kylie said.

“In cases where a patient’s hand injury is more serious and requires surgical intervention, we will facilitate a patient’s referral to the RBWH Fracture Clinic.”

The rapid access hand therapy service, which is supported by the Department of Health, has seen over 120 patients since it commenced in December last year.

Back to top