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    Specialized Outpatient Programs

    History of Hand Therapy

    California Pacific Medical Center has a rich history in the field of hand therapy, with the Davies Campus having hand therapists on staff for over twenty-five years. Under the direction of Dr. Harry Buncke and the development of the Microsurgical Center in the 1970's the need arose for a therapy program for the post-operative care of the digital replantation patients.

    In 1981, two hand therapists were hired to work with the microsurgical population. Over the years, many hand therapists have been trained at the Hand Therapy Center and services are provided for various upper extremity diagnoses from mutilating injuries to repetitive strain injuries.

    From 1981 to 1983, the Davies Campus hand therapists worked closely with the micro-surgeons to develop protocols for digital replantation and transplantation. Numerous hours were spent in the microsurgical lab after work dissecting and studying cadaver hands to determine tendon excursion and tensile strength of newly repaired tendons with different exercise patterns.

    With hard work and team effort, the "Early Protective Motion" protocol was formulated. This pioneering work was presented at the American Society of Hand Therapist in 1984 and published in the Journal of Hand Therapy in its first special edition on tendon management. This protocol, unique at that time, is now widely accepted, utilized and is still current and effective today. It was published in the April 1989 issue of the Journal of Hand Therapy under the title "Early Protective Motion in Digital Revascularization and Replantation."

    Today, California Pacific has one of the largest number of certified hand therapists on staff in a US institution. A number of staff are invited hand therapy textbook chapter authors, international professional conferences lecturers, Journal of Hand Therapy editorial board participants, and Hand Therapy Certification Commission contributors.