2021 EULAR points to consider to support people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases to participate in healthy and sustainable paid work

Annelies Boonen*, Casper Webers, Maarten Butink, Birgit Barten, Neil Betteridge, Dame Carol Black, Ann Bremander, Boryana Boteva, Olga Brzezińska, Lina Chauhan, Sarah Copsey, Vera Guimarães, Monique Gignac, Jennifer Glaysher, Frans Green, Jan L Hoving, Mary Lucy Marques, Hana Smucrova, Tanja A Stamm, Dieter WiekRoss Wilkie, Anthony D Woolf, Gerd R Burmester, Johannes W Bijlsma, Suzanne M M Verstappen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-64
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of the Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number1
Early online date15 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

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