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Any assistance you want from occupational therapy?


I hope it is okay to post here. I am a third year occupational therapy student and as part of our course we are looking at coming up with a service to fill any gaps in an occupational therapy service. I am looking at improving hand therapy services. I was hoping that some of you could tell me if you are having difficulty with any activities you feel an occupational therapist could help with. For example:

-Are you a parent? Do you have difficulty completing activities with your children and feel as though you would like more help to be able to complete activities with and for your children?

-Are you having difficulties with household activities, like housework or cooking?

-Do you find it difficult to complete activities with your friends and family?

-Do you find it hard to excercise?

-Do you find it hard to do certain hobbies you enjoy?

-Do you find it difficult to complete your job?

-Do you feel as though you need advice in how to tell others about your illnesss or that it would be helpful for occupational therapists to spend time explaining the impact of RA to your friends and family?

-Any other difficulties you can think of

Thank you in advance,


8 Replies

The service I would like would be to have an OT at a multidisciplinary rheumatology clinic - so you could see the rheumatologist, get xrays done, see a physio, and also see an OT - all at the same clinic visit. Preferably not by appointment, but just as a "wait your turn" so you could get as much or as little time as you needed. I know they are starting to do this kind of multidisciplinary clinic in a few areas, but it would make so much sense to roll it out everywhere.


I would just like people to know about OT services. In November the local group had a talk from an OT and most of the people in the room had not seen an OT, didn't know they existed and had no idea what they did.

The one I asked to see has been brilliant, but it is very difficult to know what might help.

Having an area laid out as a living area where the OT can assess what the patient does, how the patient does it and then offers solutions seems a good idea - but in our hospital was dismantled as taking up too much space.

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Hi Lizzie,

Firstly thank you for actually asking us service users for our input -much appreciated.

I would like OT referral to automatic once a patient is diagnosed with RA (or other such conditions) rather than the patient having to ask for access to the service as I did. When I go to my rheumy clinic appointment it would be very helpful to have an OT, physio etc running a drop in clinic for their service so that I could get advice on the little things that don't warrent taking up a full appointment but if sorted with sound advice would prevent determination of my mobility thus reducing the need to, later, have full appointments to manage deteriation in hand mobility that could have been prevented.



Please could you email me directly

Director of NRAS External Affairs


Hi Lisanne

It's totally ok with me for you to post on here. I am lucky that I got into an OT led educational course when I was diagnosed 21 years ago. My husband came with me and it was so good for him to learn about rheumatoid too. We had talks from physio, pharmacist, social worker and OT. It was fantastic. OT talked us through joint protection ( can't believe there are no leaflets available in clinic about joint protection) pacing oneself, practical help on cooking cleaning and all the aids available. I have an electric can opener, blender, mixer, ergonomic potato peeler, jar opener, stool in my kitchen for perching. All these things I use because an OT emphasised we must not strain our vulnerable joints. I credit this advice to my lovely hands ( you wouldn't know I had rheumatoid). According to NICE guidelines it's ideal to provide educational courses to newly diagnosed patients but does it happen? Prevention is better than cure! Why wait for people to strain and damage their joints and come looking for splints, it's too late. I drive an automatic car with a steering nob. Steering nobs should be promoted by OT's as I didn't know about them until last year and I wish I'd had one years ago. They make light work of steering round corner and parking. You can even get them in the shop that sells things for £1.

If I could afford a new shower I would love a seat in there ( flip down would be ideal). I really struggled with my hands when my baby was born in 2004. I tried to find an obstetric OT whilst pregnant but none in my area. My OT department organised for me to speak to one in London on the phone and she gave me some advice. My disease wasn't well controlled after birth so I had a hard time making bottles, changing nappies, getting my son dressed and undressed. I felt at the time my OT department should have helped me more. All I got was splints and felt they were a bit out of their depth. My son is now 10 and so life is easier as he can do most things for himself. Hoovering and ironing are a big no no for my bad right wrist. Luckily my husband does those jobs ( not as promptly as I would like though). If I lived alone I would have to pay someone. I would love a very light vacuum cleaner which may help but they are so pricey and light weight irons tend to be less efficient in my experience. I think that is all I can think of except I do struggle to get pills out of packets and open child safety bottle tops.

Hope your degrees goes well and you secure a job in the area of specialism of your choice.

Kikideelili x

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Thank you so much for all your imput. It seems like it would be helpful to have a more informal way for people to speak to OTs and physio at once, rather than needing to make an appointment to discuss something in particular? It also seems like maybe people aren't really aware of what they should expect from or be asking occupational therapists about?

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I would think maybe it would be better to ask the NRAS if it's ok to question members. They may wish you to ask their permission first.


Thank you for thinking this through and going to the horses mouth as it were. I would like as someone else has commented a joined up seamless service doing everything at the same appointment not tooing and froing (not sure how you spell that!!) Anyway I feel an OT has a huge part to play in the treatment of RA. I agree with everything else that has been said in reply to your post. Good luck, and hope we can help in the future x

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