Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Assessment of Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A New Protocol...

Assessment of Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A New Protocol Designed to Determine Work Capability – Chronic Pain Abilities Determination (CPAD)

M Kelly, R Gagne, JD Newman, C Olney, C Gualtieri, D Trail

Abstract
The objective was to design a protocol to assess work ability in people suffering ill-defined painful and disabling disorders, the outstanding prototype of which is fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome (FM/CSF).Following an extensive literature search, the most appropriate components of current methods of assessment of physical and cognitive abilities were incorporated into the protocol, occasionally with appropriate modification to suit the specific requirements of the individual.

The initial part of the assessment consists of a standard history taking, principally focusing on the patient’s self-reported physical and cognitive abilities and disabilities, as well as the completion of established pain and fatigue scales, and relevant disability questionnaires.

Following this, physical and cognitive abilities are objectively assessed on two separate occasions, utilizing computerized hand-held dynamometers, inclinometers, algometers, and force dynamometers. Specific work simulation tests using the industrial standards Methods-Time-Measurement testing are availed of, as is aerobic testing using the Canadian Aerobic Fitness Test (CAFT).

Objective computerised neuro-cognitive testing are also utilised as an integral component of the assessment. All results are then subject to specific computerized analysis and compared to normative and standardised work-based databases. The designed system produces reliable, consistent and reproducible results.

It also proves capable of detecting any inconsistencies in patient input and results, in addition to being independent of any possible assessor bias. A new protocol has been designed to determine the working capability of individuals who suffer from various chronic disabling conditions, and represents a significant step forward in a difficult but rapidly expanding area of medical practice.
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