Early Impact of RA on Women's Daily Activities, Occupation

Daily activities and occupational identity are impacted in the first 12 months after diagnosis

FRIDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- For women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), daily activities and occupational identity are affected in the first 12 months after diagnosis, according to a study published online Oct. 17 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Heather N. McDonald, M.O.T., from the Queen's Park Care Center in New Westminster, Canada, and colleagues described women's experiences engaging in everyday activities and occupations, from the onset of symptoms to 12 months after RA diagnosis. A secondary analysis explored qualitative data from 37 women with early RA (ERA). Transcripts were read, coded, and debated. The impact of ERA on daily routines and participation in occupation was classified according to descriptive categories using a systematic and iterative approach.

The investigators identified four interrelated categories that characterized the way women engaged in occupations as a result of RA symptoms: uncertainties linked to having good days, bad days, and worse days; experiencing disruption to activities; doing things differently, which was perceived positively and negatively; and changing sense of self as the women developed new identities as people living with RA.

"Daily activities and occupational identity can be profoundly impacted in the first 12 months after diagnosis with RA, resulting in significant life changes," the authors write.

Abstract
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