Background The Cyprus League against Rheumatism (CYPLAR) was established in 1984 with the goal of gradually resolving the multidimensional difficulties faced by people with rheumatic diseases due to the lack of specialized services regarding the medical, social and technical aspects of the aforementioned conditions. Throughoutthe years, the CYPLAR has undertaken many other responsibilities including the provision of programs and services aiming at social inclusion and the well – being of people with rheumatic diseases. One of those programs, launched in 2002, focuses on the use of technical aids and environmental modifications as means of achieving independence in daily life.
Objectives The aim of this program is to enable individuals with rheumatic diseases to maintain or reach independence in their daily occupations as those are formulated by their own wants and needs, thus ensuring their active participation in the community. At the same time, clients are encouraged to be actively involved in the process of evaluation and decision making in order to gain the ability to self-manage, modify and adapt their environments and occupations when possible.
Methods The program is based on a client-centered approach and was designed according to the principles of the Person-Environment-Occupation Model, which suggests that occupational performance is influenced by the person, the environment and the occupations that are included in an individual’s roles in life. The program encompasses three areas of practice that are expected to take place in parallel: 1) Home and workplace evaluations and recommendations for environmental modifications. 2) Evaluation of the individual’s ability to engage in meaningful occupations and recommendations for adaptive/assistive equipment to enhance performance. 3) Group education and training with the aim of increasing the participants’ awareness of possible modifications and adaptations they can do on their own to enhance their level of function.
Results Feedback about the effectiveness of the program is given by the clients through the processes of re-evaluations and follow-ups carried out by the occupational therapists. The feedback suggests positive results of the program as clients report high levels of satisfaction in relation to their ability to maintain independence in their daily lives.
Conclusion The use of adaptive equipment and the application of modifications to the environment can promote independence, prevent further limitations in function and improve the quality of life of people with rheumatic diseases, especially when the clients are actively involved in the therapeutic process and are trained to self – manage and modify their environments and adapt their own occupations when possible.
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Disclosure of Interest None Declared