Clinical Practice Guideline for Physical Therapist Management of People With Rheumatoid Arthritis
This guideline revises the 2008 Royal Dutch Society for Physical Therapy (KNGF) guideline for physical therapy for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This revised guideline was developed according to the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation (AGREE) tool and the Guidelines International Network (GIN) standards. A multidisciplinary guideline panel formulated clinical questions, based on perceived barriers in current care. For every clinical question, a narrative or systematic
... ive or systematic literature review was undertaken, where appropriate. The guideline panel formulated recommendations based on the results of the literature reviews, the values and preferences of patients and clinicians, and the acceptability, feasibility, and costs, as described in the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) evidence-to-decision framework. The eventual guideline describes a comprehensive assessment, based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health Core Set for RA. It also includes a description of yellow and red flags to support direct access. Based on the assessment, 3 treatment profiles are distinguished: (1) education and exercise instructions with limited supervision; (2) education and short-term supervised exercise therapy; and (3) education and intensified supervised exercise therapy. Education includes RA-related information, advice, and self-management support. Exercises are based on recommendations concerning the desired frequency, intensity, type, and time-related characteristics of the exercises (FITT factors). Their interpretation is compliant with the individual patient's situation and with public health recommendations for health enhancing physical activity. Recommended measurement instruments for monitoring and evaluation include the Patient-Specific Complaint instrument, Numeric Rating Scales for pain and fatigue, the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index, and the 6-Minute Walk Test. An evidence-based physical therapy guideline was delivered, providing ready-to-use recommendations on the assessment and treatment of patients with RA. An active implementation strategy to enhance its use in daily practice is advised. This evidence-based practice guideline guides the physical therapist in the treatment of patients with RA. The cornerstones of physical therapist treatment for patients with RA are active exercise therapy in combination with education. Passive interventions such as massage, electrotherapy, thermotherapy, low-level laser therapy, ultrasound, and medical taping play a subordinate role.