There are many equipments and tools that have been created to enable living comfortably for a patient with rheumatoid arthritis, they enable mobility and function, as well as protect joints from additional trauma or damage by positioning the joints in optimal biomechanical position.
We must understand that with a new rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, the patient with be given and taught a lot of information with regards to the management of joints, pain, energy conservation, joint protection, equipment and tools etc – there is a limit of how much a patient can understand and retain, so it'd be a good idea for continuity of care and protection information by creating an information sheet or booklet. This booklet should be informative in terms of definition, exercises, what activities to avoid, what equipments to purchase and how to use them.
Occupational therapists and physiotherapists designing their own booklets should consider the following segments to be included in their rheumatoid arthritis management booklet:
1. Biomechanics and Body Positioning
Patients are educated and taught to keep a logbook, a diary of sorts, to jot down and note what positions are helpful and makes them feel energized and which positions do not, their possible causes and their possible solutions
2. Breaks and Resting
Patients are informed to measure the length, frequency and duration of any activity or tasks that they choose to engage in, understand and jot down the rest periods, document any pain or discomfort and fatigue they experience after the activity. This should be as detailed with data as possible, so that we can plot and schedule activities accurately
3. Analysis Of The Task Or Activity
The occupational therapist then lectures the patients how to analyze the activities that they have chosen to participate in, breaking down the tasks into components of mental, physical aspects, determining when and where to take their rests; body mechanisms and postures, environmental aspects such as temperature, work bench heights, how far or near the equipments or tools are. This details will be keyed in daily into a weekly time table, and tasks are spread out according to their difficulties.
4. Protecting Their Joints
Patients to understand the difference between common joint pain from those which are caused by arthritic joint pains post overactivity. For common joint pains, the pains usually wear off after about 45 minutes with rest. This segment should involve the principles of joint protection as well.