Enhancing Quality of Life and Functional Independence in Individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Person-Centered Approach


This research paper explores the challenges faced by Mary, a 42-year-old woman diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, in managing her daily activities and maintaining a high quality of life. The paper investigates the impact of Mary’s condition on her physical functioning, family dynamics, and leisure time. It also addresses the research question of identifying appropriate therapeutic interventions to improve Mary’s well-being. The methodology involves a comprehensive analysis of Mary’s case, including her medical history, symptoms, and current lifestyle. The results indicate the need for a person-centered approach that emphasizes functional independence, emotional support, and engagement in family-centered activities. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of the study findings for healthcare professionals and recommending strategies to enhance the overall well-being of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.


Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the joints, causing pain, inflammation, and reduced mobility. This case study focuses on Mary, a 42-year-old woman experiencing significant challenges in managing her daily activities due to her rheumatoid arthritis . Mary’s symptoms include morning stiffness, difficulty with household activities, and reduced ability to care for her children. Her condition has also impacted her intimate relations with her husband . Understanding the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on Mary’s daily life is crucial to develop appropriate interventions that can improve her well-being.

Research Question

What interventions can be implemented to improve Mary’s well-being and enable her to regain functional independence while engaging in valued family-centered activities?


The methodology section outlines the approach taken to investigate Mary’s case. It includes a detailed analysis of Mary’s medical history, symptoms, and current lifestyle. The study also incorporates a review of relevant literature on therapeutic interventions for rheumatoid arthritis patients (Johnson & Williams, 2021). The methodology emphasizes the importance of a person-centered approach in understanding Mary’s needs and designing appropriate interventions.


The analysis of Mary’s case revealed several significant results regarding the impact of rheumatoid arthritis on her daily activities and quality of life. Firstly, Mary experiences significant morning stiffness, making it difficult for her to initiate her daily routine, particularly in getting her children ready for school. This morning stiffness is a barrier to her role as a mother and creates additional stress for the family. Secondly, Mary’s physical functioning has significantly declined, affecting her ability to perform household activities such as meal preparation and laundry. Her reliance on her mother-in-law for assistance has strained their relationship due to inherent personality differences. Mary feels a sense of loss as she is unable to fulfill her traditional role as a wife and mother. Furthermore, Mary’s condition has impacted her intimate relations with her husband, leading to a strain in their marital relationship. She perceives herself as a burden to her husband and suspects that her mother-in-law shares this sentiment. This psychological distress further exacerbates the emotional toll of living with rheumatoid arthritis. Lastly, Mary’s inability to engage in valued family-centered activities has limited her leisure time and affected her emotional well-being. The loss of leisure time for emotional “regrouping” creates a cycle of stress and decreased overall life satisfaction.


The discussion section provides a comprehensive analysis and interpretation of the results, exploring their implications for healthcare professionals working with individuals like Mary. The findings highlight the importance of adopting a person-centered approach in developing therapeutic interventions.

To address Mary’s physical limitations, healthcare professionals can implement a combination of physical therapy and occupational therapy. Physical therapy interventions can focus on improving joint mobility, reducing pain, and enhancing strength and flexibility (Johnson & Williams, 2021). Occupational therapy can help Mary develop strategies and adaptations to perform daily activities more independently, such as using assistive devices or modifying her home environment to accommodate her needs (Brown, 2018). Emotionally, Mary would benefit from psychological support and counseling to cope with the challenges imposed by her condition. These interventions can help Mary manage the emotional distress related to her role as a wife, mother, and her perception of being a burden to her loved ones (Smith et al., 2022). Psychosocial support can also provide her with coping strategies, effective communication skills, and techniques for stress management.

In addition to individual interventions, engaging Mary in family-centered activities is crucial for her well-being and maintaining a sense of belonging. Healthcare professionals can encourage and facilitate activities that involve the whole family, such as engaging in shared hobbies or participating in outings and gatherings. These activities not only allow Mary to emotionally “regroup” but also strengthen the family bond and create positive experiences for all members. It is essential for healthcare professionals to collaborate with Mary’s support network, including her husband and mother-in-law, to ensure a comprehensive and holistic approach to her care. By involving them in the therapeutic process, healthcare professionals can address conflicts, enhance understanding, and foster a supportive environment for Mary’s well-being.


Mary’s case highlights the profound impact of rheumatoid arthritis on her daily activities and overall quality of life. The results underscore the importance of a person-centered approach that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of her well-being. By implementing a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychological support, and family-centered activities, healthcare professionals can enhance Mary’s functional independence, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life.


Brown, A. (2018). Impact of chronic illness on marital relationships. Journal of Family Nursing, 20(2), 193-215.

Johnson, R., & Williams, K. (2021). Therapeutic interventions for rheumatoid arthritis: A systematic review. Journal of Rheumatology, 48(5), 789-803.

Smith, M., Davis, R., & Anderson, K. (2022). Rheumatoid arthritis and family dynamics: A qualitative exploration. Journal of Family Issues, 43(2), 268-288.