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THU0705 Experimental use of 3d printing technology for the construction of devices as integration of occupational therapy intervention with rheumatoid arthritis patients (RA)
  1. G Sandri1,
  2. A Bottini2,
  3. F Franchi3,
  4. MT Mascia2
  1. 1Department of Clinical, Diagnostic and Public Health, Service of Rheumatology
  2. 2Department of Clinical, Diagnostic and Public Health, Occupational Therapy Unit
  3. 3Orthopedic, Hand Rehabilitation, Modena, Italy


Background RA is a chronic inflammatory disease that can interfere with the ability to perform activities of daily living. The adoption of aid devices allows to maintain and/or improve employment performance, reducing the pain preventing further joint damage. However, it is known that the abandonment rate of such devices is quite high, resulting in failure of the rehabilitation project, and waste of resources. The reasons people give for abandoning support technology are that they have not been involved in the process of provision, and that the devices do not have the intended effect (1).

Objectives technology may allow customization of 3D printing devices agreed together with patients, utilizing materials which are cheap, fast and easily adjustable.

Methods The study was organized into the following phases: recruitment of RA patients for the “joint protection laboratories”; sessions of the “joint protection laboratories”; recruitment of patients for the identification of needs for customized aid devices; co-design of customized aid devices; printing of customized aid devices; delivery of customized aid devices; detection using customized aid devices.

We have collected a list of needs to be able to develop such customized aid devices at the end of a course to educate on joint protection covering: ergonomic gestures, management of fatigue and pain, environmental adaptations and aid devices.

18 patients (17 women and 1 man), age between 30 and 75 years old, were organized into small groups for the “joint protection laboratories”. 9 patients expressed their specific needs regarding the aid devices and therefore subsequent meetings were organized that have allowed us to produce and deliver customized objects.

Autodesk® Fusion360 for object modeling; Ultimaker Care for slicing; 3D printing DeltaWASP 20 40. For the collection of the design features we used the PA board (product analysis) of the USERfit tool. For the psycho-social impact assessment of the assistance, the PIADS (Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Devices Scale – scale -3+3) was used, and for the evaluation of the patient's satisfaction with respect to the aid device, QUEST (Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Technical Aids, scale 1–5) was used.

Results 6 aid devices were customized: hand grip holder for chalk, toothbrush, ignition key, tablespoon, iron, as well as a handle to open the moka coffee machine.

The psychosocial assessment of 6 delivered aid devices, collected through PIADS, showed an overall positive outcome (mean competence +1.488; adaptability: +1.690; self-esteem: +1.375). The assessment of patient satisfaction through QUEST, was good overall (scale 1–5: satisfaction aid: 4.75; service satisfaction: 4.68).

Conclusions This work also demonstrated, over a range of small numbers, that the path of co-design and production of customized aid devices via rapid manufacturing with 3D printing technology is feasible and fulfilling.


  1. Tuntland H, Kjeken I, Nordheim L, Falzon L, Jamtvedt G, Hagen K. The Cochrane review of assistive technology for rheumatoid arthritis Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2010 Jun;46(2):261–8.


Disclosure of Interest None declared

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