Occupational Therapists Providing Expertise in Hand Therapy

March 13, 2018

Farmington, Maine


The Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) Occupational Therapy (OT) department is utilizing a new team approach for providing treatment of conditions and injuries of the upper-extremity. Best known as “hand therapy,” the treatment is actually much broader and may also include treatment of the wrist, elbow, rotator cuff, and shoulder.


The hand therapy treatment team includes: Jessaka Nichols MSOT/L; Theresa Desjardins, COTA/L; and the newest member of the team, Elizabeth Barton, MSOTR/L. Shelley Rau, MAOTR/L, who worked as a certified hand therapist for over 25 years, is providing on-site consultation to the team, and mentorship to Nichols who is currently completing requirements to become certified by the Hand Therapy Certification Commission.


According to Susan Loughrey, FMH director of physical rehab services and sports medicine, “Nichols, who specializes in hand therapy, supervises all upper extremity evaluations and treatments in the outpatient OT setting. The full outpatient orthopedic team works with a variety of upper extremity injuries including but not limited to musculoskeletal injuries, tendonitis, fractures, nerve injuries, wound and scars, arthritis, and post-surgical conditions.”


The team approach provides a continuum of care that often starts within days of a patient’s injury or surgery creating an individualized and comprehensive treatment program that may include therapeutic exercise, orthosis design and fitting, activity modification, compression therapy, sensory re-education, and pain management, among others.


The treatment plan is updated regularly to allow patients the ability to return to purposeful and meaningful activity at work, school, home, or leisure tasks as rapidly as possible.


A referral from a provider is needed for appointments. Call 779-2620 for appointments.