Department of Consumer Affairs, Board of Occupational Therapy

Right Column

Occupational Therapy Practice Act, Sections 2570.2, 2570.3

2570.2. (l) "Hand therapy" is the art and science of rehabilitation of the hand, wrist, and forearm requiring comprehensive knowledge of the upper extremity and specialized skills in assessment and treatment to prevent dysfunction, restore function, or reverse the advancement of pathology. This definition is not intended to prevent an occupational therapist practicing hand therapy from providing other occupational therapy services authorized under this act in conjunction with hand therapy.

(m) "Physical agent modalities" means techniques that produce a response in soft tissue through the use of light, water, temperature, sound, or electricity. These techniques are used as adjunctive methods in conjunction with, or in immediate preparation for, occupational therapy services.

2570.3. (d) An occupational therapist may provide advanced practices if the therapist has the knowledge, skill, and ability to do so and has demonstrated to the satisfaction of the board that he or she has met educational training and competency requirements. These advanced practices include the following: (1) Hand therapy. (2) The use of physical agent modalities. (3) Swallowing assessment, evaluation, or intervention.

(e) An occupational therapist providing hand therapy services shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the board that he or she has completed post professional education and training in all of the following areas: (1) Anatomy of the upper extremity and how it is altered by pathology. (2) Histology as it relates to tissue healing and the effects of immobilization and mobilization on connective tissue. (3) Muscle, sensory, vascular, and connective tissue physiology. (4) Kinesiology of the upper extremity, such as biomechanical principles of pulleys, intrinsic and extrinsic muscle function, internal forces of muscles, and the effects of external forces. (5) The effects of temperature and electrical currents on nerve and connective tissue. (6) Surgical procedures of the upper extremity and their postoperative course.

(f) An occupational therapist using physical agent modalities shall demonstrate to the satisfaction of the board that he or she has completed post professional education and training in all of the following areas: (1) Anatomy and physiology of muscle, sensory, vascular, and connective tissue in response to the application of physical agent modalities. (2) Principles of chemistry and physics related to the selected modality. (3) Physiological, neurophysiological, and electrophysiological changes that occur as a result of the application of a modality. (4) Guidelines for the preparation of the patient, including education about the process and possible outcomes of treatment. (5) Safety rules and precautions related to the selected modality. (6) Methods for documenting immediate and long-term effects of treatment. (7) Characteristics of the equipment, including safe operation, adjustment, indications of malfunction, and care.

(g) An occupational therapist in the process of achieving the education, training, and competency requirements established by the board for providing hand therapy or using physical agent modalities may practice these techniques under the supervision of an occupational therapist who has already met the requirements established by the board, a physical therapist, or a physician and surgeon.

(h) The board shall develop and adopt regulations regarding the educational training and competency requirements for advanced practices in collaboration with the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board, the Board of Registered Nursing, and the Physical Therapy Board of California.