Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: An Evaluation of an Occupational Therapy Inpatient Intervention

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It has been stated that, although most chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) patients can be treated in primary care and that cognitive behaviour therapy and prescribed, graded aerobic exercise appear to be promising in outpatient management, a minority of patients will require inpatient care (Royal Colleges of Physicians, General Practitioners and Psychiatrists 1996). To date, little has been written on the need for and impact of an inpatient approach for patients with CFS. This study builds on previous work to show how patients with complex CFS responded to a specifically designed occupational therapy inpatient programme, using the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy and graded activity.

A quasi-experimental study was carried out using current inpatients with those on the waiting list as a comparison. At 6 months following discharge, a significant difference between the groups in terms of symptoms and level of ability was not demonstrated. However, a significant effect was shown in patients' perceived health, length of time tired and management of the illness. Thirty-one (72%) of the inpatient group, compared with 10 (53%) of the comparison group, stated that they felt better than the previous year. Thirty-one (72%) of the inpatient group, compared with 7 (37%) of the comparison group, indicated better management of their illness. These findings give some evidence of the need for an inpatient CFS management programme for specific patients with complex CFS.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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