• Open Access

The Development and Evaluation of a Vocational Rehabilitation Training Programme for Rheumatology Occupational Therapists


  • This article was published online on 24 May 2013. Acknowledgements section was subsequently added. This notice is included in the online and print versions to indicate that both have been corrected [14 June 2013].

Correspondence: Rachel O'Brien, Faculty of Health & Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University, Robert Winston Building, Broomhall Road, Sheffield, S10 2BP, UK. Tel: +44 (0)114 225 2241; Fax: 0114 225 4449

Email: r.obrien@shu.ac.uk


People with inflammatory arthritis rapidly develop work disability, yet there is limited provision of vocational rehabilitation (VR) in rheumatology departments. As part of a randomized, controlled trial, ten occupational therapists (OTs) were surveyed to identify their current VR provision and training needs. As a result, a VR training course for OTs was developed which included both taught and self-directed learning. The course included: employment and health and safety legislation, work assessment and practical application of ergonomic principles at work.

Pre-, immediately post- and two months post-training, the ten OTs completed a questionnaire about their VR knowledge and confidence On completion, they reported a significant increase (p < 0.01)in their knowledge and confidence when delivering vocational rehabilitation. They rated the course as very or extremely relevant, although seven recommended more practical sessions. The preference for practical sessions was highlighted, in that the aspects they felt most beneficial were role-playing assessments and sharing ideas through discussion and presentations.

In conclusion, the course was considered effective in increasing both knowledge and confidence in using VR as an intervention, but, due to time constraints within the working day, some of the self-directed learning should be incorporated into the training days. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.