5 Hand Dexterity Assessments for Occupational Therapists

Hand Dexterity Assessments

Before knowing about occupational therapy, you need to learn about dexterity. Dexterity means ability to use both of the hands in the same way including fingers and palm. Better dexterity means higher degree of hand functionalities and better manual dexterity. With dexterity a person can move their fingers finely without any obstruction. They can accomplish their daily task using both hands with considerable force.

Do you ever check your dexterity?

Dexterity is a core feature of the human upper-limb. Here all of the motor components and sensory nerves work unitedly to support hand and finger functionality. Thus, dexterity offers enough independence to our hands and fingers to accomplish our daily task.

Now occupational therapists do a detailed dexterity test to measure the hand & finger functionality. They check movement abilities and their range of motion. If anything is wrong with that, they make a rehabilitation program to make them effective again. They not only work at your hands level, but also do a great job on a neurological level. They identify complications at the neurological level to check the learning abilities and cognitive behavior, and musculoskeletal disabilities to  reach at a deeper level. For that they perform different types of diagnosis tests.

In this article we are going to talk about different advanced test done by occupational therapist:

1. The Purdue Pegboard Test (PPBT)

The Purdue Pegboard Test (PPBT) test discovered in 1948. It is the fundamental test when we talk about checking and measuring the dexterity. It accesses the “ Cursor movements” of both hands and wrist as well. If this counts match for both hands, that means the person has fine-tuned dexterity level. If counts do not match, then the dexterity level is considered low.

PPBT test is divided in two parts

A. The picking up & placing test

B. Assembly test

A. The picking up & placing test

This test is done by instruments such as a Pegboard and pins. Occupational therapists take patients one hand at a time and place them above many small pins, and then place the whole set just above the peg holes. It takes a maximum of 30 seconds to measure the hand capacity for one hand, then the patient has to place another hand, and next with both hands. A great way to measure a patient’s dexterity level.

B. Assembly test

Here patients need to use their both hands perfectly. Thus it is known as the “Assembly test”. It functions as the pin washer-collar washer combination. Thus therapist uses maximum number of holes in this “Assembly Test”

The PPBT test is applicable for children more than 6 years, adults & for older adults.

Equipment requires Pins, washer, pegboard, timer, and collar

Time require: less than five minutes

Price~ $125 -$170 approx.

2. The Box and Block Test (BBT)

The Box and Block Test is best for measuring Gross Manual Dexterity. Here the patient will sit across from the hand therapist or more specifically say occupational therapist, and move the maximum number of blocks from one side of the box to another side of the box. Now occupational therapists count how many blocks are moved from one side to another within 1 minute.

The BBT test is applicable for children more than 6 years, adults & for older adults

Testing equipment: A Rectangular box, around 150 cubes and a stopwatch for tracking time

Time takes: 1 to 2 minutes

Cost: approx.~ ($ 180- $200)

3. 9HPT or NHPT (The nine-hole peg test)

The Nine-Hole Peg Test is done with one hand at a time. Patients apply their right and then left hand to move all the pages separately in their container, to the back and broad. The 9HPT test is good to assess fine motor dexterity.

The test is not allowed for children, but apt for adults of 18+

Equipment required : A pegboard with total 9 holes, 9 pegs, and a stopwatch.

Time require: just three minutes

Expense: Only $ 30, it is the most cheaper experiment though.

4. Jebsen Taylor Hand Function Test ( JHFT)

The Jebsen Taylor Hand Function test is a different test than all of the above. It involves a twist process to measure hand functionality tests. Though it is also a one handed test associated with how hands are performing regular activities. JHFT involves a total of 7 subset of tests. It is more occupation-based. However, it takes more time for execution.

Age: Apt for children above 6+, then all the younger adult

Test equipment require: paper clip, coffee can, index card, spoon, caps, and checker

Time needed: 15 minutes

Cost: $ 300-$ 350

5. Functional dexterity test (FDT)

The Functional dexterity test measure is important to check out how a patient flips large pegs over a zig-zag pattern. Therapists offer 55 seconds to accomplish the task . The test is basically performed to measure the dynamic dexterity.

Children above 6 years are eligible to do this program, for this test occupational therapist use stopwatch pegboard, and pegs,

Time required is only 5 minutes, Cost of the test is around $ 110-$120.

Occupational therapists customize their hand therapy exercises program after performing all these tests. The nature of the therapeutic exercise will depend upon the result of the above-mentioned test.

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