New Occupational Therapist Specialising in Hand Therapy

Photo: Michelle McIntosh
Wednesday, 9 March 2016
Portland people needing help with hand injuries can now find relief locally.

Michelle McIntosh, an occupational therapist specialising in hand therapy, is now working each Friday at the PDH Specialist Centre

Hand therapy is a specialty area of occupational therapy or physiotherapy that focuses on rehabilitation of the hand and upper limb. This includes helping a person to recover following a hand or wrist injury, such as a broken bone, tendon laceration or ligament injury.

It also helps people to manage upper limb conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis. Hand therapists work with GPs, surgeons and other health professionals to achieve the best outcomes for each person.

Mrs McIntosh said the weekly service in Portland would provide a comprehensive assessment of a person's hand function and discuss how this impacts on their life.

We then develop a treatment plan with each person to help improve their hand function and manage their daily tasks, she said.

Treatment includes education, pain management, splinting, scar management, exercises, strengthening, as well as task or environment modification. This could include providing a splint for someone to help reduce the pain in their thumb, or helping a person return to work and sport following a hand fracture.

Mrs McIntosh graduated from Latrobe University in 2001 with a Bachelor in Occupational Therapy which included specialist subjects in hand therapy. Since then she has completed several professional development activities relating to hand therapy and is an associate member of the Australian Hand Therapy Association.

I enjoy working in a specialised area and looking at a part of the body in-depth, she said.

Mrs McIntosh has previously worked in hand therapy in public and private settings in Melbourne and Warrnambool and has seen the need for a hand therapy service local to Portland.

I know that it is very difficult for people with injuries to travel, she said.

The new hand therapy service in Portland operates from the PDH Specialist Centre on Bentinck Street. The best way to arrange an appointment is to contact Intake at the Specialist Centre on 55 221410 or Email:

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