Prescribing hand strengthening exercise for patients with rheumatoid arthritis; clinical cues influencing occupational therapists' and physiotherapists' judgements.
Boniface G., White N., Tomlinson C., Norris M., O'Connell N., Williamson E., Harries P.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the clinical judgements of therapists in prescribing the intensity of hand strengthening exercise in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). METHODS: Phase I: Eleven therapists knowledgeable in treating patients with RA subjectively identified seven clinical cues. These were incorporated into 54 hypothetical patient case scenarios. PHASE II: Therapists with ≥2 years post-registration experience and current or recent experience in treating patients with RA were asked to assess 69 case scenarios in total (54 + 15 repeats) and judge what intensity of hand strengthening exercise they would prescribe using the OMNI-Resistance Exercise Scale of perceived exertion. Using responses to the repeated cases, the Cochran-Weiss-Shanteau index of expertise was used to identify therapists who prescribed more consistently. Multiple regression was used to determine which clinical cues were most strongly associated with the intensity of exercise prescribed. A sub-group analysis explored differences between consistent and inconsistent prescribers. RESULTS: Fifty-three therapists took part. Thirty completed all 69 case scenarios. Across all therapists, the three most important clinical cues associated with lower intensity of exercise prescribed were (1) Patient's reported pain intensity whilst practising the exercise (β = -1.150, p