Occupational therapy seeks to understand the nature of a person’s occupation and focuses on matters that may affect his performance in the workplace. It emphasises on finding solutions to everyday challenges at work to improve the output of an employee, for example, coping with stress, trauma, injury or disability at work. A recent research study, the REAL (Resilient, Empowered Active Living) Diabetes study conducted in South California has shown that occupational therapy can improve blood sugar levels and compliance to Diabetes management among young adults with Diabetes. The study has been published in the journal Diabetes Care.
The study was conducted on 81 young adults between the age of 20 and 30 years and who have Type 2 Diabetes. Their HbA1c levels were found to be 10 per cent at the beginning of the study. The participants were divided into two groups – control and intervention groups. The intervention group was provided professional guidance for six months with regards to discussing their condition at the workplace, checking blood sugar levels at the office and outside and discussing and managing their medical cost with their close ones. They were also provided with customised study material to find solutions for tackling Diabetes in the workplace. The control group was provided with a standardised study material and bi-weekly phone calls for six months to follow-up on their progress.
The study has shown that the blood sugar levels showed more improvement in the intervention group than in the control group. The study has also found that there was increased compliance in the intervention group regarding blood sugar monitoring than in the control group. Young adults with Diabetes face different challenges in managing chronic conditions such as Diabetes. Medical cost of Diabetes management in a social setting and access to specialised care further affect the health outcomes in young people with Diabetes. The study has concluded that results are better when young people are counseled and motivated to better manage their health conditions in a workplace. Further studies are being carried to see the long term efficacy of occupational therapy in managing Diabetes in large groups.
Source: Diabetes Care