Session Type: ARHP Concurrent Abstract Session
Session Time: 11:00AM-12:30PM
Background/Purpose: Work cessation and at-work productivity loss are common and early outcomes of inflammatory arthritis (IA). Ergonomic accommodations contribute to successful management of arthritis symptoms in the workplace. The self-assessment and interview format of the Ergonomic Assessment Tool for Arthritis (EATA) mitigates concerns about disclosing diagnoses to employers. However, evaluation of its utility is needed, including whether or not it adequately captures ergonomic issues and leads to appropriate recommendations. The purpose of the present study is to descriptively analyze the kinds of ergonomic issues experienced by working adults with IA and the potential solutions proposed by the occupational therapist (OT) as identified with the EATA.
Methods: This descriptive study is nested within a randomized controlled trial of the Making it Work program to prevent work loss secondary to IA. One element of the intervention is a 1:1 ergonomic consultation with an OT performed outside of the workplace. OTs were provided training in the EATA protocol. We extracted data from OT’s written assessments and the solutions form of EATA for 67 consecutive participants at one provincial site of the trial. Content analysis of ergonomic issues and recommended solutions was conducted by two authors and verified by co-authors.
Results: Participants ranged from 23-60 years of age (mean=47); 81% were women; and all were currently employed 3-62 hours per week. The majority (62%) had rheumatoid arthritis. Issues identified during the consultation were predominantly related to work station design and symptom management in the workplace, especially fatigue. Recommended solutions to issues in the workplace, while predominantly ergonomic in nature, also included non-ergonomic suggestions to reinforce medical, therapeutic, and health lifestyle recommendations that participants identified as problematic. Ergonomic solutions tended to fit one of two primary categories: (1) strategies such as pacing (72%) or modifying work tasks (57%), and (2) equipment recommendations, such as adjusting current work stations (51%) to support improved work postures or recommending equipment like an adjustable chair or assistive device to improve biomechanics for task performance. A review of EATA data with the occupational therapists involved also showed that issues of greatest concern to participants were frequently outside the realm of this very specific work-based consultation, indicating the complexity of living with IA and need for ready access to a broad range of resources and/or interdisciplinary team.
Conclusion: A structured, interviewed-based assessment is feasible for identifying ergonomic issues faced by employed adults with IA, and proposing solutions to support work performance. Follow up research is recommended to assess the usefulness of the proposed solutions in achieving the goal of preventing work loss.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Allyn L, Zoller L, Backman CL, Lacaille D. Content Analysis of Ergonomic Recommendations Using the Ergonomic Assessment Tool for Arthritis [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2016; 68 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/content-analysis-of-ergonomic-recommendations-using-the-ergonomic-assessment-tool-for-arthritis/. Accessed October 20, 2020.
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