Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Ben Atchison

Second Advisor

Nancy Hock


Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a common autoimmune disorder that affects many men and women across the world. This disorder is marked by inflammation and swelling of the joints, along with the impairment of cartilage, and bones. It is a systemic disease so it may impact the cardiovascular, pulmonary, visual, and integumentary systems. There are 5 different phases of RA that include acute, subacute, chronic active, and chronic inactive. Diagnosis is based on the American College of Rheumatology-European League Against Rheumatism scale (ACR-EULAR). Different aspects of RA are rated on different scales, along with different blood work tests to determine if someone has RA. While there isn’t one definite cause of RA, it is believed to be related to genetics, environment, and gender. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with RA due to the female hormones. Medical management involves the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARD’s), and glucocorticoids. All of these have different benefits and should be used at different phases of RA. Surgical management should be the last resort. There are many surgeries conducted on the upper extremities including the hands, fingers, or wrists. Occupational therapy plays a role in the management of RA across all eight levels of occupation. These include health management, rest and sleep, work, education, play and leisure, and social participation.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

Restricted to Campus until