OBJECTIVE. In this study, we systematically reviewed the effectiveness of educational interventions falling within the scope of occupational therapy practice for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). These interventions included disease education, joint protection and energy conservation, psychosocial techniques, pain management, and a combination category.
METHOD. Two databases, MEDLINE and CINAHL, and select journals were searched for randomized controlled trials published between January 2002 and June 2015. Qualitative synthesis was used for between-study comparisons.
RESULTS. Twenty-two studies, with approximately 2,600 participants, were included. The interventions were found to have strong evidence for constructs that dealt with increasing coping with pain and fatigue as well as maintaining positive affect. There was limited or no evidence supporting the effectiveness of these interventions on most other measured constructs.
CONCLUSION. Interventions in which a combination of educational techniques is used may complement pharmacological therapies in the care of people with RA. Future research is needed to identify specific mechanisms of change.