The Department of Rheumatology is not run by rheumatologists alone. It is staffed by a whole team of health professionals and support staff, who work in diverse roles and deliver a wide range of services. Below are a few examples of people that patients can expect to meet in the rheumatology department:
Rheumatologists play a key role in understanding exactly what is wrong with you and in deciding the best way to treat it.
Rheumatology Nurse Practitioner
The rheumatology nurse practitioners are specialists in their field. They play a supporting role to consultants and deliver specialist clinics across the Trust. They can provide professional advice to patients and their families about their condition.
Physiotherapists are particularly involved in helping you maintain the strength, movement and function of the areas affected by your condition. They are particularly aware of the constraints caused by the nature of your complaint, and can help and advise by suggesting appropriate activities.
Occupational Therapists support patients to enable them to “overcome barriers preventing them from doing the activities (or occupations) that matter to them. This support increases independence and satisfaction in all aspects of life” (Royal College of Occupational Therapists, 2019).
The role of occupational therapy service for people with rheumatological conditions includes a variety of interventions to support self-management, enhance occupational performance and facilitate independence. Keys areas for intervention include:
- Advice and education about protecting joints
- Splints to support joints to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Recommendation on gadgets to help with tasks at home and work
- Address problems with hand function: where possible provide strengthening and stretching hand exercise programmes to support your joints and reduce pain and inflammation.
- Fatigue management
- Sleep hygiene
- Relaxation techniques
- Help and advice on coping physically and emotionally with the changes your condition may have on your life.
- Help and advice on driving and mobility problems
- Advice around employment and remaining in paid employment