What is the IAHT
The Irish Association of Hand Therapy (IAHT) is Ireland’s only professional association representing practitioners of hand therapy
“To promote education, research and evidence
based practice among members, while
fostering understanding and co-operation
between those involved in the treatment
of the hand on a local, national and international level”.
History of IAHT
The I.A.H.T. was originally set up in 1986 by a few Occupational Therapists as a special interest group for Occupational Therapists working in the area of upper limb conditions.
In line with international practice, the group was expanded to include Physiotherapists and other interested professions i.e. commercial members.
On 23rd November 1987 a meeting was organised with the Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists interested in hand therapy and a committee of three was elected; Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. The Ist IAHT conference was held April, 1989 in St Vincents Hospital Dublin. This inaugural meeting covered an extensive array of topics with the surgical/ medical management delivered by Consultant Orthopaedic and Plastic surgeons followed by the therapeutic management. Topics included: Clinical examination of the hand, Nerve Injuries, Fracture management, Rheumatoid Arthritis, The Burned Hand, Congenital Hand, The Mutilated Hand, Sport Injuries of the wrist and Hand.
The IAHT is a totally voluntary organization that has grown from strength to strength since its inception with increasing members. In 2009, IAHT had 28 members (82% Occupational Therapists and 18% Physiotherapist) in 2016, there were 44 members (64% Occupational Therapists and 36% Physiotherapists)
The committees has been very proactive in promoting and developing hand therapy in Ireland. Since 2004, the association has invited prestigeious quest speakers from all around the world to present at the annual IAHT conferences including USA, Sweden, Australia and the UK. This has ensured that Irish clinicians are afforded the opportunity to hear and meet the “who’s who of hand therapy” and have exposure to the most up to date research and evidence base practice.
IAHT has developed sponsorship opportunities for therapist to attend conferences internationally via bursary scheme; the first bursary was awarded in 2009.
The development of the first IAHT website was begun in 2005 year. To coincide with this a new official IAHT logo was chosen to represent the uniqueness of hand therapy in Ireland.
In 2013, IAHT decided to start a newsletter as a medium to keep our members informed and up to date on what’s happening in Ireland and Europe.
In 2016 IAHT recognised the need to embrace modern media setting up a Facebook and a twitter account, also creating a new role of Communication and media officer on the executive committee.
The website was redesigned in 2017 to serve as an information and communication platform for all members and the general public
In June 1994 Ireland hosted the second European Federation of Hand Therapy (EFSHT) meeting in Dublin with the British Association of Hand Therapy (BAHT) led by Lynda Gwilliam and Ann Birch. The guest speaker was Dr Wynn Parry giving a historical account of the development of hand therapy. However, IAHT only became official members of EFSHT in 2012.
In 2007 the IAHT became full members of the International Federation of Hand therapy (IFSHT).
Recognition of Hand therapy practice in Ireland
In 2005 the IAHT successfully negotiated for occupational therapists and physiotherapists practicing in hand therapy in Ireland to be eligible to apply for the CHT certification along with other countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. This was a very exciting progression/recognition of our practice. Annette O’Driscoll, Senior Occupational Therapist, Cork University Hospital was the first successful IAHT member to sit the exam in Ireland in 2008.
IAHT members that are CHT’s (USA) practicing in Ireland: please see list …. Link to list “ What is Hand Therapy”
The Constitution of the Irish Association of Hand Therapists
The Irish Association of Hand Therapists was established to bring together Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists who are involved in the treatment of the hand.
Aims and Objectives:
1. To organise educational evenings/workshops, where knowledge in various fields of hand therapy can be shared.
2. To compile an information bank of therapists’ speciality work, available on request from committee members.
3. To compile an information file of relevant articles, news items and bibliography as a reference source for members.
4. To promote understanding and co-operation between those involved in the treatment of the hand.
5. To evaluate new treatment techniques and equipment.
6. Promote Research and Evidence-based Practice among members.