Educational Techniques Used In Occupational Therapy Treatment Of Cumulative Trauma Disorders Of The Elbow, Wrist, And Hand

Al Lawler
Anne B. James, University of Puget Sound
George, S. Tomlin, University of Puget Sound


Objective. This study examined patient education techniques used by occupational therapists when treating cumulative trauma disorders (CTDs) of the elbow, wrist, and hand. Method. A self-administered survey was sent to 232 registered occupational therapists whose primary area of practice was hand therapy. The questionnaire sought information about specific content areas and methods (i.e., media, format) used to educate patients about preventing the recurrence of CTDs in the elbow, wrist, and hand. Results. One hundred twenty-eight therapists responded to the survey. A majority of respondents (n = 116) reported that patient education content areas consisted of anatomy of the joint, the CTD disease process, and job modification. Verbal instruction, illustrations, and pamphlets and handouts were the most frequently used forms of educational media. A majority of respondents (n = 111) also reported that individual interaction was the most common format of patient education. Conclusion. The findings indicate that a majority of therapists use the same patient education techniques with regard to content areas, media, and format, regardless of the area being treated (i.e., elbow, wrist hand). Furthermore, it appears that therapists with specialty training in CTDs more frequently include anatomy of the elbow, job modification, and proper body mechanics in the content of their patient education about the elbow.