Occupational Therapy for People With Chronic Disease
The goal of occupational therapy is to help people live as
independently as possible.
Occupational therapists use work, self-care, and
recreational activities to increase the flexibility and independent function of
people who have
rheumatoid arthritis and other long-lasting
conditions. Occupational therapy can include:
Assistance and training in doing activities
such as dressing, cooking, and eating.
Physical exercises to
increase good posture and joint motion as well as overall strength and
flexibility. For example, people who have hand and wrist stiffness may be taught to
exercise those joints right after doing the dishes, while the joints are warm
Evaluation of your daily living needs and assessment of
your home and work environments, with recommendations for changes in those
environments that will help you continue your
Assessment and training in the use of
assistive devices, such as special key holders if
hands are stiff, computer-aided adaptive equipment, and wheelchairs.
Fitting splints for the hands.
The teaching of
specific hand-stretching and hand-strengthening exercises.
family members and caregivers.
Occupational therapists help people who have arthritis or other
chronic pain conditions to protect their joints and conserve energy while
developing a range of motion and strength that will help them maintain joint
function. For example, occupational therapists can teach techniques to avoid
applying excessive force on non–weight-bearing joints and to avoid unnecessary
impacts on weight-bearing joints.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.