Importance: Identifying the outcomes of occupational therapy after a distal radius fracture (DRF) is important so that effective strategies can be developed to mitigate the consequences associated with this common fracture.
Objective: To determine whether participation in occupational therapy improved functional status. Secondary objectives were to assess its effects on body functions and to examine the association between changes in outcome measures and occupational therapy–related factors.
Design: Longitudinal, with consecutive sampling over a 12-mo period.
Setting: Outpatient rehabilitation service.
Participants: Participants were 38 adults with a unilateral DRF (ages 31–75 yr.; 81.6% female).
Intervention: Multicomponent occupational therapy, including supplemental techniques and activity-based interventions.
Outcomes and Measures: Functional status and body functions were assessed before and after therapy.
Results: All standardized measures of functional status showed significant improvements, which were large in size. Several body functions improved significantly (pain, sleep, wrist and forearm movements, and grip strength fraction), and effect sizes ranged from medium to large. For several outcome variables, earlier therapy was significantly associated with better results; moreover, the likelihood of achieving better outcomes was significantly higher among participants who attended more sessions.
Conclusions and Relevance: Occupational therapy services have an important role to play after a DRF in terms of returning to daily activities and reducing impairments in body functions. Earlier intervention and attending a higher number of occupational therapy sessions are likely to further improve these outcomes.
What This Article Adds: Because the effects of occupational therapy among people with a DRF remain uncertain, we quantified the outcomes of this intervention in an outpatient rehabilitation service, revealing medium to large improvements in the performance of daily activities and in various body functions. Our findings identified two factors associated with better results: early initiation of therapy and a higher number of occupational therapy sessions.