The Hand Center of Bienville maintains a staff of specially trained, experienced Certified Hand Therapists (CHT’s), occupational therapy assistants and technicians specializing in the treatment of problems and injuries of the hands and upper extremities. Certified Hand Therapists have a minimum of five years clinical practice, including 4,000 hours or more of direct practice in hand therapy. Additionally, our Certified Hand Therapists have successfully passed a voluntary comprehensive test of advanced clinical skills and theory. The CHT credential is recognized by many professional organizations as a benchmark for excellence in advanced specialty credentialing in health care.
The intricate anatomy of the arm and hand frequently requires very delicate surgery. The technical complexity of these kinds of surgeries necessitates a high level of competence by therapists with advanced skills during the postoperative recovery. Therapists must be knowledgeable about these advanced surgical techniques and postoperative therapy to become a CHT.
Using specialized skills in assessment and treatment, hand therapists promote the goals of preventions of dysfunction, restoration of function, and/or reversal of progression of pathology in order to enhance participation in life situations for individuals with upper extremity injury and disease. We provide the best possible therapeutic treatment choosing from a full range of treatment approaches including custom splinting, wound care, scar management, heat, cold, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, range of motion and strengthening exercises, work conditioning and activities of daily living.
Hand Therapy is indicated for a variety of shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand problems including:
- Nerve injuries and compressions
- Tennis elbow
- Tendon repairs
- Joint contractures
Melissa Hartsfield, OTR/L, CHT graduated from Northeast Louisiana University in 1988. She began practicing as an Occupational Therapist in 1988 and has been a Certified Hand Therapist since 1994. Melissa joined the Hand Center of Bienville Orthopaedic Specialists in 1999 and is a member of the American Society of Hand Therapists. She has made many community and peer presentations on various hand therapy subjects.
Ophelia Abrahams, OTR/L, CHT graduated from the University of Durban-Westville in South Africa. She began practicing as an Occupational Therapist in 1994 and has been a Certified Hand Therapist since 2007. Ophelia joined the Hand Center of Bienville Orthopaedic Specialists in July 2008.
Casey Picard, MS, OTR/L graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2013. She joined the Hand Center of Bienville Orthopaedic Specialists in September 2014. She is currently working toward the requirements needed to become a certified hand therapist.
Alyssa “Morgan” Zelenka, OTR/L
The Hand Center of Bienville has 2 locations to serve our patients: East Lake (Gautier) and Orange Grove (Gulfport)