Thursday, February 17, 2011

Finnish and Swedish Tetrahand Teams meet

Tetrahand teams from Helsinki, Finland and Göteborg, Sweden met at Sahlgrenska University Hospital for 3 days in February, 2011 to discuss and outline the essentials of a comprehensive unit for surgical rehabilitation of upper extremity function in tetraplegia. These intensive days included real-time reconstructive surgery, multiple post-operative training sessions with patients, preoperative assessments and follow-ups. Suitable outcome measurement techniques were presented and evaluated (picture right). Experiences from different concepts of organizing tetraplegia hand surgery services were shared. It was agreed upon several factors necessary for a sustainable and reliable service; for example the obvious fact that expertise comes with large exposure to individuals with tetraplegia, the necessity of a close collaboration with physiatrists/neurologists and teams responsible for rehabilitation around the country, careful control of outcome of surgery, routines for providing assessment of hand function in all patients with tetraplegia as well as presenting the up-to-date surgical reconstruction options available. Finally, it was remarked that tetraplegia hand surgery must not be undertaken unless a team of experts (surgeons, rehabilitation doctors, nurses and hand therapists) work together throughout the entire process of treatment and care with patients' goals in focus.

Johanna Wangdell and Jan Fridén hosted the meeting.