Whitney Palmer

Healthcare. Politics. Family.

Sustaining Employment with Arthritis

Published on the Nov. 11, 2015, Rheumatology Network website

By Whitney L.J. Howell

Not only can the presence of disability-accommodating workplace policies help workers with arthritis stay in the jobs longer, but proactively using the policies can enhance job performance, according to a small study.

Based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, 20 percent of American adults have some form of doctor-diagnosed arthritis. In addition to pain and joint stiffness, arthritis is also responsible for job absenteeism, productivity losses, fatigue, and difficulty sustaining throughout the day.

In a presentation given on Nov. 11 at the 2015 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif., Monique A.M. Gignac, M.D., an affiliate scientist with the Toronto Western Research Institute, discussed how workplace policies accommodating disability needs can improve job performance and how physicians should encourage patients to research and utilize those resources when necessary.

“When an employee has a flare-up, he or she might need to draw on the policies, but they won’t always be a drain on employer resources,” she said. “That’s an important message for workplaces to hear.”

Results showed participants without access to policies experienced more pain, fatigue, and health variability. Those who proactively used policies before any crises exhibited greater productivity and fewer health disruptions.

Among participants, 500 with arthritis and 500 without, two-thirds said their workplace met their accommodation needs, and 16 percent said their needs were exceeded. Twenty percent reported unmet needs, and 8 percent said their workplace had no accommodation policies in place. Of the workplaces with policies, 75 percent had three or more policies available, and most were low-cost solutions, such as flex time, ergonomic equipment, or modified job duties, Gignac said.

According to study results, one-fourth of participants never used disability workplace policies, and three-fourths used only one or two, she said.

(The study was funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research.)

To read the article at its original location: http://www.rheumatologynetwork.com/acr2015-rn/adults-arthritis-want-stay-workforce

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November 11, 2015 - Posted by | Healthcare | , , , ,

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