The Experiences and Meanings of Work Engagement of Persons with Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Living in Singapore
(2013) The Experiences and Meanings of Work Engagement of Persons with Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Living in Singapore, no. 70.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition which causes joint deterioration, pain, and fatigue, resulting in physical limitations. It can affect persons of any age, but has a peak onset at working age. Hence, persons with rheumatoid arthritis often face limitations at the workplace, or lose their jobs because of arthritis. These work limitations and job losses result from factors such as the effects of the arthritis, demands of the job, a lack of support from supervisors and colleagues at the workplace, and when the workplace is not designed suitably for persons with physical limitations. Occupational therapy is concerned with this ability to engage in work. Persons who receive occupational therapy services alongside other health services such as rheumatologists, physiotherapists, and podiatrists are less likely to lose employment. However, rheumatoid arthritis management in Singapore is largely medical-based, with little or no accessibility to specialised occupational therapy services. Furthermore, there is lack of Asia-based research regarding how working is experienced by persons with rheumatoid arthritis, and what working means to them. This study thus proposes to conduct one-to-one, in-depth interviews with three persons living with rheumatoid arthritis in Singapore, to explore the experiences and meanings they derive from work. These participants will be recruited from rheumatology clinics in Singapore. The proposed research serves both to bridge the current knowledge gap, and as an initial step in informing the development of relevant occupational therapy services for this population.