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Rheumatoid arthritis patients’ views of a vocational rehabilitation intervention provided by rheumatology occupational therapists

Prior, Y, Amanna, A, Bodell, SJ and Hammond, A 2014, 'Rheumatoid arthritis patients’ views of a vocational rehabilitation intervention provided by rheumatology occupational therapists' , Rheumatology, 53 (Suppl1) , i121-i122.

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Introduction/ background: Work disability in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is common and many are unlikely to return to work once they cease working (Young et al 2009). This study, nested within a randomised controlled trial (RCT) of a vocational rehabilitation (VR) programme, aimed to explore employed RA patients’ perceptions of the impact of VR or work advice received. Method: The VR intervention was modified for use in the UK from an American study (Allaire et al, 2003) and provided by Rheumatology OTs, who had received training in VR. Both the intervention and control group received a work advice pack. The intervention group also received on average 3 (SD1.08) hours of VR. At six month follow-up, semi-structured telephone interviews with participants (n=32) were conducted to investigate their views of VR and advice received. These were recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed by three researchers to ensure validity. Results: Two different and overarching themes emerged within each group: (i) the intervention group: valued the work advice they received (e.g. pacing, looking after self, changes to work routines, advice on equipment/aids) and highlighted the therapeutic benefit of seeing an OT (ii) the control group: perceived their condition as more debilitating than those in the intervention group, and lacked future aspirations about staying employed. They were unaware of their rights at work, refrained from disclosing their condition to their employers and expressed concerns about taking frequent sick leave, anticipating this might result in job loss. Participants from both groups admitted not having read the information booklet. Conclusions: Working people with RA receiving VR in this trial found it helped them learn how to manage their condition at work, and understand their employment rights. A relatively short intervention provided by rheumatology OTs may help them to stay in work for longer, potentially improving work disability.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Journal or Publication Title: Rheumatology
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1462-0324
Related URLs:
Funders: Arthritis Research UK
Depositing User: Dr Yeliz Prior
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2015 19:01
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2016 09:33

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