Dr. Lacaille's work was supported by a New Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Arthritis Society of Canada, and is the Nancy and Peter Paul Saunders Arthritis Scholar.
A proof-of-concept study of the “employment and arthritis: Making it work” program
Article first published online: 30 OCT 2008
Copyright © 2008 by the American College of Rheumatology
Arthritis Care & Research
Volume 59, Issue 11, pages 1647–1655, 15 November 2008
How to Cite
Lacaille, D., White, M. A., Rogers, P. A., Backman, C. L., Gignac, M. A. M. and Esdaile, J. M. (2008), A proof-of-concept study of the “employment and arthritis: Making it work” program. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 59: 1647–1655. doi: 10.1002/art.24197
- Issue published online: 30 OCT 2008
- Article first published online: 30 OCT 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 21 JUL 2008
- Manuscript Received: 1 FEB 2008
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- Arthritis Society of Canada
Work disability is a common outcome of inflammatory arthritis (IA), yet few services address employment. We conducted a proof-of-concept study of the “Employment and Arthritis: Making It Work” self-management program aimed at preventing work disability and maintaining at-work productivity in employed people with IA.
The program was developed using the precede-proceed model and self-management concepts. Program goals included modifying risk factors for work disability and enhancing self-management of work problems due to IA, as identified in initial focus groups. The program included a self-learning manual, 5 group sessions, and individual visits with an occupational therapist for an ergonomic assessment and a vocational rehabilitation counselor. It was pilot tested in 2 groups (n = 19) and evaluated over 12 months of followup.
Participants consisted of 19 employed women with IA. Process evaluation demonstrated feasibility and excellent attendance and use of the self-learning manual. By 1 year, 80% reported increased confidence in requesting job accommodations, 74% had requested an accommodation, and 71% of requested accommodations were implemented. The occupational therapist and vocational rehabilitation counselor visits resulted in recommendations for change in 100% and 74% of participants, respectively, with implementation of some recommended changes in 89% and 63%, respectively. Improvements were observed in self-confidence in managing problems at work, fatigue interference with work, measures of limitations, and at-work productivity.
We developed a novel intervention to prevent work disability in patients with IA, combining self-management group sessions and professional assessments aimed at job retention, which resulted in people making changes to adapt their work to their arthritis, and improved fatigue, self-efficacy, and at-work productivity.