Agreement between hand therapists and hand surgeons in the management of adults with closed metacarpal fractures

Jade Wong, Lucy Chipchase, Amitabh Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Hand therapists often work in roles which require an advanced level of experience as Advanced Scope Practitioners (ASP). However, it is not known whether clinical decisions are similar between hand therapists and surgeons when managing simple hand fractures. Objectives: To determine the level of agreement between (i) a hand therapist and five hand surgeons and (ii) three hand therapists, for the management of adults with closed metacarpal fracture(s). Design: A prospective, blinded, crossover inter-rater reliability study. Method: Patient volunteers with closed metacarpal fracture(s) were assessed independently in the first study (n = 90) by a hand therapist and one of five hand surgeons and in the second study (n = 57) by three hand therapists in a randomised order, with each practitioner recording whether the patient participant should be managed conservatively, trialled with conservative or offered surgical treatment. The level of agreement between the hand therapist and hand surgeons was calculated using Cohen's kappa coefficient and between the three hand therapists by calculating Fleiss' Kappa. The observed agreement was also calculated as the proportion of cases for which the assessors had agreement for management. Results: There was good agreement between the hand therapist and surgeons (k = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.537–0.831) and amongst the three hand therapists (k = 0.663; 95% CI: 0.554–0.773) in determining the management of adults with closed metacarpal fracture(s). Conclusions: Hand therapists and surgeons make similar management decision for patients with metacarpal fractures supporting the role of hand therapists as ASP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102560
Number of pages6
JournalMusculoskeletal Science and Practice
Volume60
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Hand injury
  • Model-of-Care
  • Occupational therapist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Reliability
  • Scope of practice

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