The contribution of occupational therapy in the care of people with musculoskeletal diseases

Prior, Y ORCID: 2018, 'The contribution of occupational therapy in the care of people with musculoskeletal diseases' , Rheumatology, 57 (Supl.3) .

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Musculoskeletal conditions (MSCs) are a heterogeneous group of conditions, which affect the musculoskeletal system and are linked to bodily pain, impaired physical function and lead to decline in the performance of activities of daily living (ADLs). Their prevalence is widespread in the general population and is predicted to increase with the ageing population. Due to their unique focus on understanding occupation and its impact on health, and their biopsychosocial approach to assessment, rheumatology occupational therapists have a key role to play within the multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) providing care for people with MSCs. Rheumatology occupational therapists’ input could range from providing practical advice on overcoming everyday difficulties (e.g. recommending strategies to help with household tasks and cooking); to help to manage mood and stress; teach joint protection and hand exercises to help improve movement and grip; provide splints or arthritis gloves to rest or support joints and help reduce hand pain; to the delivery of psychological interventions to increase motivation, self-efficacy and coping skills to self manage chronic symptoms of MSCs. Again, due to their inherent skills to assess individual’s capacity and performance to work, occupational therapists are best placed within the MDT to provide work rehabilitation, such as job retention or return-to-work interventions. Considering the growing impact of MSCs on work participation, this important aspect of occupational therapy is more often than not under utilised in the NHS.

Occupational therapists in the UK may work within the NHS, Social Services, and charities or in private practice. Nevertheless, unlike other health professionals commonly involved in the care of people with MSCs (e.g. physiotherapists and nurses) they are not commonly placed in Primary Care settings. Consequently, people with MSCs may not be accustomed to being seen by/referred to occupational therapy services. Therefore, this presentation will briefly touch upon the growing evidence-base underpinning the rheumatology occupational therapy practice, and highlight ongoing challenges to maximise the people with MSCs' access to the specialist rheumatology occupational therapy services within the MDT in the NHS.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Rheumatology
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
ISSN: 1462-0332
Related URLs:
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router
Depositing User: Publications Router
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2018 10:05
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:09

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