Are graft-versus-host-disease patients missing out on the vital occupational therapy services? a systematic review

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The aim of this review is to show the importance of occupational therapy/hand therapy for chronic graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) patients and to outline the current state of the literature. GVHD of the hand can cause functional loss, reduced activities of daily life, poor social interaction, and loss of income because of limitations in work. Hand therapy, which is a specialty practised by both occupational therapists and physical therapists, has been proven to be an effective approach for hand-related musculoskeletal disorders; however, the literature search suggests that it is an underutilized specialty around the world. An electronic search was performed from 1997 to 2017 using OneFile (GALE), Medline/PubMed (NLM), Scopus (Elsevier), Science Citation Index Expanded (Web of Science), ProQuest Central (New), ProQuest Hospital Collection, Health Reference Center Academic (Gale), Health Research Premium Collection, Science Direct Journals (Elsevier), ProQuest Health & Medical Complete, Medical Database, Wiley Online Library, and SciTech Premium Collection for the period from 1994 to April 2017. Only randomized-controlled trials involving occupational therapy or hand therapy in patients with chronic hand GVHD were included in the final analysis. The search was limited to articles in English. Two reviewers independently assessed the methodological quality and extracted the data. The JADAD scoring method was used to score the articles. After the duplicates were excluded, 5466 articles were identified by the electronic database search for screening, out of which 5465 articles were excluded after reviewing. One article was further excluded on obtaining the full text as it was a case study. Hand therapy specialty, although a vital part of the recovery process for the patients with hand GVHD, is an underutilized specialty and well-designed trials are urgently needed for musculoskeletal hand GVHD, especially for focused hand therapy interventions.

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