American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting
American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting
November 09, 2018
5 min watch

Workplace flexibility significantly impacts employment for patients with RA

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CHICAGO — Less flexible work arrangements and more physically demanding jobs were linked to a higher unemployment rate among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to data presented at the ACR/ARHP 2018 Annual Meeting.

“We surveyed just under 300 patients with RA and collected information about their patient-reported outcomes data. We also asked several questions about workplace environment, workplace productivity, flexibility – and we made some interesting findings,” W. Benjamin Nowell, PhD, director of Patient-Centered Research at the Global Healthy Living Foundation at CreakyJoints, told Healio Rheumatology. “We found that among our sample, about 57% were currently employed, which means the remaining 43% were either unemployed, on leave or on disability.”

In addition, he noted, “we compared participants who were employed either part-time or full-time vs. those who were unemployed. What we found were some interesting differences in the workplace environment and characteristics: In general, it looks as though there are aspects of being flexible in the workplace that are associated with remaining employed. Those whose most recent job was more physically-demanding – jobs that involve kneeling or standing for long periods of time – tended to no longer be employed.”

“People who had some flexibility in their schedules and were able to work from home a few days a week tended to be the ones that were currently employed,” Nowell said “The importance of this study for patients in particular is that they should know the types of resources and information that they could request to help them remain employed and productive.”