Patients with RA Make Good Employees


Patients with arthritis have less fatigue, greater job satisfaction, less productivity loss and less absenteeism in second-career jobs than individuals who never left the workforce due to illness.

Proper medical treatment can keep people with arthritis in the workforce longer, a large study of individuals with arthritis and those without the condition showed.

Physicians should be aware that a growing number of patients, including those with arthritis, are interested in working beyond traditional retirement age, study authors said. And, there is a clinical need to ensure treatment helps them get back to work.

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 individuals living with arthritis have the same desires to remain in the workforce as do their counterparts who don’t have the chronic condition.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"43958","attributes":{"alt":"©racorn/","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_8938487474806","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"4886","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"font-size: 13.008px; line-height: 1.538em; float: right;","title":"©racorn/","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

“Perhaps we need to provide clinicians with resources, policies, and practices about success stories of how people have managed to sustain in the workplace,” she said. “They can provide education and information to patients looking to continue working.”

According to study results, there were no differences in retirement expectations between individuals with arthritis and those without. Both groups expected to retire from their current jobs at age 64, she said, and 60 percent of them said they plan to return to work full-time or part-time at something else for several more years. In fact, she said, 11 percent of both groups indicated they had no intention of ever retiring.

This concept – retiring from one career to take a job in another field – is called bridged retirement, and it’s becoming more common, Gignac said. Based on results from 631 individuals with arthritis and 538 without it, participants with arthritis reported less fatigue, greater job satisfaction, less productivity loss, and less absenteeism in the second-career jobs than did individuals who never left the workforce.




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


Keeping Baby Boomers in the Labor Force Longer: What Does It Mean for Workers with Arthritis?;” Monique A.M. Gignac, M.D., Nov. 11, 2015; 11 a.m.- 12:30 p.m., ACR/ARHP 2015

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