pat mckee

Institution: University of Toronto, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy; Anatomy Softwear International Inc.

Years of experience in HT: 40

Main areas in HT you’ve been working in: Arthritis, Repetitive Strain Injuries, Joint instability, Nerve Injuries, Hand Spasticity, Orthotic Intervention, Anatomy Education

Main subjects that you’ve presented in a meeting?

Hand Anatomy Review; Orthotic Intervention for Arthritis, Nerve Injuries, Joint Instability, Hand Spasticity; Guiding Principles of Orthotic Intervention; Orthotic Management of Thumb Carpometacarpal Joint Osteoarthritis; Hybrid neoprene-thermoplastic orthotic designs

What was your first encounter with hand therapy?

My first encounter with hand therapy was during my last fieldwork placement before graduating from OT school, although it wasn’t called hand therapy at the time. I had the good fortune to have as a fieldwork supervisor an innovative occupational therapist, Annette Rivard, who was a creative orthotic fabricator. She inspired my interest in hand therapy and we have remained good friends and, in recent years, co-authors of several journal articles.

What is the most important training you’ve had and where was it? Could you tell us some anecdotes about that?

My most important training has been through private clinical practice where I have encountered clients with unique functional challenges. Those challenges inspired me to become a creative problem solver, think laterally and formulate solutions using innovative materials and orthotic designs.

I have also found it very educational to sit down and write articles.

Co-presenting at conferences with other hand therapists has provided wonderful opportunities to learn from the experiences and knowledge of others.

In your opinion, which is the book you think a hand therapist needs to have near her bed? A good anatomy textbook. I would also like to think it might be a book I wrote “Orthotics in Rehabilitation: Splinting the Hand and Body.” CONTACT ME FOR INFO ABOUT HOW TO GET A FREE DIGITAL COPY

Which article do you think is the most essential for a hand therapist to read? What did you find in this article that you want to share?

There are so many excellent and important articles that it would be impossible to identify just one. However, I would like to suggest an article that I wrote. “Biopsychosocial Approach to Orthotic Intervention” I would like to share that this article outlines guiding principles of orthotic intervention. It features a client story about a hand therapist who, years after sustaining a serious head injury, went on to become a world champion para-cyclist, wearing a wrist orthosis that I designed for her.

Has your professional practice changed over the years? How did it use to be and how is it now?

My professional practice has certainly changed over 40 years. There are hand therapy journals and associations in many countries that have all formed since I graduated, which are encouraging the development of evidence-based practice. These organizations also help to enable networking through online groups. There is also the International Federation of Societies of Hand Therapy and wonderful conferences to attend around the world. Another huge change is the Internet, with access to so much information, as well as social networking opportunities, especially through Facebook and LinkedIn.

In which projects are you involved in this moment?

A major, long-term project is developing and enhancing the educational offerings from Anatomy Softwear International Inc., ( a company that I co-founded. We are translating the online instructional glove-drawing videos into French, Spanish and Mandarin, in addition to the English and Portuguese videos that we now offer.


I recently returned from the American Society of Hand Therapists meeting in Denver Colorado, in October 2015, where I presented a ½ day workshop with Virginia O’Brien CHT, titled “Thumb Things are Worth Knowing: Achieving a Pain-free Stable Thumb”.

I am planning a two-day anatomy-orthotics workshop for the University of Wisconsin for April 2016.

In your opinion which are the next highlights for HT in the coming years?

The highlights will be international meetings – IFSHT in 2016 in Buenos Aires and in Germany in 2019. The growing possibilities of 3-D printing will have an increasing influence on the design and fabrication of prostheses and orthoses.

I would like to share that I am also a singer-songwriter. Most notably I wrote and recorded “Look Beyond” which was Canada’s Official Song for the International Year of Disabled Persons. It can be heard at

When I presented at the Federation of Societies of Surgery of the Hand meeting in Milan, June 2015, I debuted “The Crazy Hand Anatomy Blues”, my new composition for the audience. Stay tuned for that to come to YouTube.

What is the best part about hand therapy?

The best part is meeting, sharing with and learning from hand therapists around the world.



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