The overall purpose with the HANDY project is to develop and evaluate the feasibility of a cross-sectorial management program for people with hand osteoarthritis within the context of general practice and community-based occupational therapy.
Osteoarthritis is a common disease, with an estimated 300 million affected people worldwide and a significant cause of disability among older adults. The prevalence of symptomatic hand osteoarthritis has been estimated to 13 and 26% among men and women, respectively, in older adults. People with hand osteoarthritis frequently experience problems with activities of daily living (ADL) involving the hands such as buttoning buttons and carrying groceries.
A recent audit involving a sample of Danish general practices revealed nearly 400 patients with hand osteoarthritis. Of these, 147 patients experienced decreased functioning. Only 1 of them had been referred from general practice to occupational therapy. Several established organisations advocate for multifactorial management of hand osteoarthritis. Still, the audit indicates that this is not the practice in Denmark for people with hand osteoarthritis.
The cross-sectorial management program will include a needs evaluation for when patients should be referred to occupational therapy, information material, referral procedures and a standardized occupational therapy program. Furthermore, descriptions of the collaboration between the two primary health sectors.
Aside from three studies included in the PhD project, the HANDY project also involves a post doc study and research activities designed to develop and revise the management program.