Self employed/Free University Amsterdam / Royal Tropical Institute
Years of experience in HT: Almost 40.
Main areas in HT you’ve been working in:
I have been working most, part-time, in general hand therapy and pre-postoperative therapy in connection with reconstructive (tendon transfer surgery).
I first got introduced to handtherapy when starting working in leprosy – Then you soon come across the name of Paul Brand who can be considered the godfather of handtherapy. He trained his own handtherapist, paramedical assistants, in the South of India (Vellore) in the early fiftees when working there as a missionary in a large training hospital and and a leprosy- research training centre. The Christian Medical College in Vellore, known all over India, has a dedicted Paul Brand handtherapy unit.
Main subjects that you’ve presented in a meeting?
My main interests in the field of handtherapy- rehabilitation are: biomechanics, tendon transfers and splinting. Nowadays assessment at all important levels (ICF) have my interest. Another area of interets is chronic pain and holistic care. (I am tired of protocols)
Please, tell us more about you…
What was your first encounter with hand therapy?
See above, I have been very fortunate in meeting Paul Brand early in my career and have been closely associted with him in the eightees for three years in Carville, LA, USA where he was a consultant surgeon and head of rehabilitation.
What is the most important training you’ve had and where was it? Could you tell us some anecdotes about that?
The most important training has always been ‘informal’ through working closely with colleagues and surgeons. Early on in leprosy work, surgeons would always ask “what do you think of this condition”? Recognition of your expertise.
In your opinion which is the book you think a hand therapist needs to have near her bed?
Clinical Mechanics of the Hand (Paul Brand-for theory and understanding the hand) and Rehablitation and Surgery of the Upper Extremity, for practice. Clinical Mechanics of the Hand was written by Paul Brand and his staff in the years that I was associted with him. It is rather unfortunate that this book is now out of print.
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?
I would think that the articles in Practice Forum in J. Hand Ther. Has much to offer – to try yourself or take up for research.
Has your professional practice changed over the years? How did it use to be and how is it now?
In the last decade or so my focus is more on assessment / evaluation and holistic approach. Meanigful assessment – not angles and strength – but functional gain.
In which projects are you involved in this moment?
At this moment, officially retired, I am study manager of an international multi-country randomised neuropathy clinical trial: Efficacy of corticosteroids in the prevention and mangement of nerve damage in leprosy (India, from where I write this, Nepal, Indonesia and Bangladesh). I am still teaching nationally and internationally and consulting with one of my daughters who is a handtherapist (OT).
In your opinion which are the next highlights for HT in the coming years?
More ‘sensible’ assesment/evalution tools.