Interventions from an occupational therapy perspective for musculoskeletal disorders among healthcare workers: A systematic review

University essay from Jönköping University/HHJ, Avd. för rehabilitering

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSD) are the leading cause of work disability. Healthcare workers (HCW) have a particularly high risk of developing these disorders. OBJECTIVE: To review the current knowledge, from an occupational therapy (OT) perspective, on interventions for upper body WMSD among HCW in close contact with clients through manual handling. METHODS: This systematic review attempted to gather experimental and observational studies published between 2008 and 2019, that discussed interventions within OT practice to prevent or treat WMSD of the upper body among HCW. The searches were conducted on CINAHL, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, PubMed, OTSeeker, AMED and Emerald. RESULTS: Nine articles were included in the final analysis. Overall, the methodological quality of the articles was moderate. The main preventive measures used were classified according to the components of the Person-Environment-Occupation-Performance model. The identified interventions were training in ergonomics and safe patient-handling, the use of assistive devices and equipment, physical exercise, and workplace modifications. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that these interventions are effective in the prevention and treatment of upper body WMSD in HCW. Furthermore, these interventions appear to be more beneficial when combined together. Researchers could also investigate the effectiveness of interventions targeting psychological factors in the prevention of WMSD.

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