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Socio-economic factors in the rehabilitation potential of arthritic patients : a sample study of male patients in residential treatment at Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society Medical Centre, Vancouver, 1952-1955 MacInnis, Margaret Richmond


Because of the importance of medical and psychiatric information in diagnosis, there is a tendency to neglect or under-emphasize socio-economic information. This is partly an Issue of recording; but it may have vital bearing on rehabilitation, and perhaps on treatment, in the broadest sense of the term, related to prognosis and rehabilitation plans. This study undertakes an exploration of this area, for a sample group of male patients receiving residential treatment in an arthritis treatment centre (Canadian Arthritis and Rheumatism Society, Vancouver) from 1952-1955. The socio-economic factors examined were in three groups, (a) age (b) family and marital factors (c) employment and occupational status. The material used was obtained from medical and social service records of the agency. Statistical data were taken from admission forms and social service face sheets. Social service records provided the material concerning the attitudes and adjustments of the patients. Two broad categories of treatment goal used by the agency in planning treatment, (1) employ-ability, and (2) improved self-care were followed in the present study in assessing the patients’ adjustment following treatment. Judged from these results the team estimate of the rehabilitation potential of the patients was 72% accurate in spite of the many unknowns in the handling of rheumatoid arthritis. The duration of the illness before treatment, and the length of treatment, appeared less important in relation to degree of improvement than might have been expected. Chronological age is clearly important: there was marked difference in the response of the patients under 50 years of age, compared with the response of the older patients, whether the treatment goal was "employability” or "improved self-care”. The patient's general attitude toward employment seemed more influential than the type of work he was accustomed to do. The men whose inter-personal relationships were adjudged within normal range were best able to adjust to the trauma of illness, and to make best use of the rehabilitation service. The concept of team treatment is again demonstrated by this kind of study. The Social Worker as a member of the treatment team is shown to have responsibility in three areas: (a) direct treatment of the patients (b) inter-professional planning for the patients, and (c) the use of community resources. The study leads to some recommendations for the improvement of community and agency services, and suggests that study of social and economic needs of older men demands attention.

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