A qualitative evaluation of occupational therapy-led work rehabilitation for people with inflammatory arthritis: Perspectives of therapists and their line managers

Abstract

Introduction: Occupational therapy-led work rehabilitation for employed people with inflammatory arthritis and work problems

was piloted in five hospitals in the United Kingdom. This qualitative study explored the views of participating occupational

therapists and their line managers about the work rehabilitation training received and conducting the intervention, with particular

focus on the structured interview used, the Work Experience Survey – Rheumatic Conditions.

Method: Face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with occupational therapists (n.9), followed by telephone

interviews with their line managers (n.2). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed by

three researchers to maximize validity.

Results: The main themes emerging from the occupational therapists’ interviews were: varying levels of prior knowledge and

experience of work rehabilitation, initial concerns about the feasibility of a lengthy work assessment in practice and increased

confidence in delivering work rehabilitation as the study progressed. The line managers’ interviews generated themes around the

positive impact of the work rehabilitation training the occupational therapists received, and changes in their practice.

Conclusion: The Work Experience Survey – Rheumatic Conditions was considered a good choice of work assessment which can be

implemented in practice. Once therapists had provided the work intervention several times, their confidence and skills increased.