AIM: As part of its strategic objectives for 2023, EULAR aims to improve the work participation of people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs). One strategic initiative focused on the development of overarching points to consider (PtC) to support people with RMDs in healthy and sustainable paid work participation.
METHODS: EULAR's standardised operating procedures were followed. A steering group identified six research areas on paid work participation. Three systematic literature reviews, several non-systematic reviews and two surveys were conducted. A multidisciplinary taskforce of 25 experts from 10 European countries and Canada formulated overarching principles and PtC after discussion of the results of literature reviews and surveys. Consensus was obtained through voting, with levels of agreement obtained anonymously.
RESULTS: Three overarching principles and 11 PtC were formulated. The PtC recognise various stakeholders are important to improving work participation. Five PtC emphasise shared responsibilities (eg, obligation to provide active support) (PtC 1, 2, 3, 5, 6). One encourages people with RMDs to discuss work limitations when necessary at each phase of their working life (PtC 4) and two focus on the role of interventions by healthcare providers or employers (PtC 7, 8). Employers are encouraged to create inclusive and flexible workplaces (PtC 10) and policymakers to make necessary changes in social and labour policies (PtC 9, 11). A research agenda highlights the necessity for stronger evidence aimed at personalising work-related support to the diverse needs of people with RMDs.
CONCLUSION: Implementation of these EULAR PtC will improve healthy and sustainable work participation of people with RMDs.