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Arthritis Rheum. 2009 Jul 15;61(7):988-95. doi: 10.1002/art.24610.

Development of a structured interview tool to help patients identify and solve rheumatic condition-related work barriers.

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Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



To develop a comprehensive and efficient assessment tool for rheumatic condition-related work barriers and explore its use by physical and occupational therapists.


Literature on arthritis work barriers was examined, followed by the collection of qualitative data on work barriers from patients with rheumatic conditions. A tool called the Work Experience Survey-Rheumatic Conditions (WES-RC), which identifies barriers and facilitates the formation of solutions for barriers, was developed using this data. Ten physical and occupational therapists reviewed the initial version of the tool and provided qualitative data and the relevance of its use by therapists. Using this data, the WES-RC was revised. The therapists then administered the WES-RC to 20 patients. Quantitative data, qualitative data, and results of the administrative experience were collected from therapists after each administration. Relevant data were used to further revise the WES-RC. Qualitative data were coded and themes developed by 2 readers and compared. Means and frequencies were used to describe the quantitative data.


The WES-RC addressed patients' work barriers quite well with a mean score of 8.7, on a scale of 1-10 where 10 = barriers completely covered, and administration time was reported as "about right" in 18 (90%) of 20 administrations. Eighty percent of the therapists' administration experiences were positive. Therapists reported barrier identification as easy, while solution formation was difficult in 45% of the administrations and judged insufficient in 35%.


The WES-RC appears to be feasible for rheumatology patients and for use by physical and occupational therapists. Further study is needed to enhance effective solution formation.

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