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The role of the Rheumatologist

A rheumatologist is a medical specialist who is expert in the field of musculoskeletal disorders. His or her task is to diagnose such conditions and recommend appropriate treatment. The rheumatologist may need to review you regularly, either in person or via one of the rheumatology team, or your condition may be one your own doctor (GP) can manage in the community. Many conditions are managed jointly.

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The role of the Rheumatology Nurse Specialist

Specialist Nurses have a patient and carer centered approach to care, and they provide a number of services including patient education and information including the disease process, treatments options, pain management, coping with flares, coping with rheumatoid arthritis and lifestyle issues. They also do Anti TNF screening, routine follow up, run the advice line and undertake specialist infusions.

The role of the Rheumatology Pharmacist

Here the Rheumatology Pharmacist describes his role.

The role of the Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists are health care professionals who help people resume an active and independent life both at home and at work. They are experts in assessing movement, addressing individual needs, helping to improve function, and managing pain. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people in different ways. Physiotherapists can provide you with appropriate aids, such as a walking stick, and teach you how to use these. They also teach you how to protect your joints.

Exercise is an important part of your treatment. The Physiotherapist will help show you how to exercise appropriately and safely. Exercise can help you to:

  • Have less pain
  • Have more movement in your joints
  • Have strong muscles
  • Prevent deformities in your joints
  • Maintain good posture
  • Feel fitter
  • Do your daily activities more easily.

You should try to perform your exercises at least once every day, even if your joints feel stiff (you may need to take painkillers beforehand if necessary).

If you are having a flare of your arthritis, reduce the number of exercises you do but continue to exercise each joint at least once to prevent you ‘seizing up’.

The role of the Occupational Therapist

An Occupational Therapist, or OT, is a trained health professional who works with people of all ages, helping them to carry out everyday activities and lead fulfilling lives. Occupational Therapy is a way of helping individuals to do the things they want and become much more independent. In this context ‘occupation’ means any way in which people spend their time, from personal care (getting dressed, cleaning their teeth, shopping); to productivity (paid or unpaid work, housework or school); to leisure (sports, games, hobbies, social life).

OT’s can help by

  • Giving practical advice on how you can overcome everyday problems
  • Making everyday activities easier
  • Providing or advising about specialist equipment
  • Offering advice about employment and leisure activities
  • Discussing your condition and what you can do to help yourself
  • Providing splints to rest or support painful or unstable joints
  • Providing joint protection advice
  • Providing advice on fatigue management
  • Preventing loss of function Improving / maintaining psychological status
  • Providing advice about relaxation techniques

Our OT has developed specialist skills in treating people with rheumatoid arthritis.

The role of the Podiatrist

Podiatrists (formerly known as chiropodists) are experts in treating minor foot problems such as corns and calluses. They may also provide some orthoses and advice on footwear. There is no podiatry service available within the hospital; however if you require podiatry we can refer you to a community-based podiatrist.