An Evaluation of a Chronic Fatigue Lifestyle Management Programme Focusing on the Outcome of Return to Work or Training

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This article presents the results of an audit of clinical outcomes from an occupational therapist led service for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The service offers group outpatient lifestyle management sessions, in which patients are encouraged to restructure lifestyle patterns in order to facilitate improvements in fatigue and function.

The cohort studied consisted of 98 consecutive patients attending the service who fulfilled the 1994 Centers for Disease Control criteria for CFS. The median illness duration was 5 years. The treatment offered consisted of six group sessions in lifestyle management together with three additional review sessions. The primary outcome measure was a return by the patient to employment, voluntary work or training. The cohort was followed up at a median of 18 months using a self-report questionnaire. Among the treated patients, 42% (31/74) reported new part-time or full-time employment, voluntary work or training.

The results of this study suggest that a lifestyle management programme offered by an occupational therapist led specialist service may provide positive outcomes, in terms of a return by patients to work and training, and indicates the need for a randomised controlled trial to provide definitive evidence of this.

Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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