Occupation-Based Hand Therapy!

About the Site Creator

My name is Katriona Buhler and I just completed a doctoral degree in Occupational Therapy at Washington University in Saint Louis.  This website was born out of an independent study in hand therapy that I chose to undertake in my final "in-class" semester before leaving the educational environment for the clinic.  I'm currently seeking employment in a dynamic and challenging setting where I can do a lot of work with hands and the UE but also where I can continue to expand my knowledge in other areas!  I would like to continue to stay involved in research.  I have extracted the abstract from my doctoral thesis below:
Objective: To develop an individualized method of quantifying the manual wheelchair propulsion efficiency in persons with tetraplegia.  Methods: 10 individuals with tetraplegia that use manual wheelchairs as their main source of mobility performed 2 different tests on a treadmill.  The drag test resulted in a number that represented the amount of work necessary to move themselves and their chair forward at a set speed.  The propulsion test used a specialized wheel outfitted with force sensors to capture the amount of actual work being performed by the individual moving for that same speed.  The value derived for propulsion was then divided by the value derived for drag, resulting in a number that represented propulsion “efficiency”.  Results and Conclusions:  Propulsion efficiency was studied as a ratio of drag work / tangential work and tangential work / total work.  The experiment defines a method that can be used to assess the individual propulsion efficacy of a manual wheelchair user with tetraplegia.  This will help to promote community participation and independence by aiding in the research that explores preservation of upper extremity musculature, fatigue reduction, and strategies to decrease the of overall health costs in this population. 

As you might be able to tell from the work put into this website in contrast to the work put into my doctoral research, I am interested in numerous areas of physical disability research!  I'm currently just trying to find my niche in the working world! 



Thanks to the following authors and their fabulous resources!  This website hopes to spread your words of wisdom!

Christiansen, C. H. & Baum C. M. (1997). Occupational Therapy: Enabling Function and Well Being 2nd Edition. Thorofare: Slack, Inc.

Christiansen, C. H. & Baum C. M. (2005). Occupational Therapy: Performance, Participation, and Well-Being. Thorofare: Slack, Inc.

Iwama, Michael. (2006). The Kawa Model: Culturally Relative to Occupational Therapy.
Retrieved April 30, 2008 from University of Toronto, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy: http://www.kawamodel.com/

Iwarsson, S., Jensen, G., & Ståhl, A. (2000). Travel Chain Enabler: Development of a pilot instrument for assessment of urban public bus transportation accessibility. Technology and Disability, 12, 3-12.

Kasdan, M. L. & Szabo R. M. (1998). Occupational Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Occupational Hand and Upper Extremity Injuries and Diseases. Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus, Inc.

“The Enabler”. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 16, 227-244.  Retrieved on May 1, 2008 from:  http://portal.arb.lu.se/coremethodology.pdf.