Background Employment rates are significantly lower among individuals with arthritis compared to a general population. During the last decade new biological medications have revolutionized the treatment for many individuals with arthritis (1), reducing the disease activity and symptoms in a positive way, but also causing major direct costs since the new medications are very expensive (2). Even though the effect is good some individuals still report disability like pain, fatigue (3) and work disability (4). This indicates that even though biological medicines generate a positive remission of the disease, disability such as work disability can still be present and needs to be evaluated. Previous research about individuals with arthritis and their ability to work has mainly had a quantitative design focusing on what affects work and facilitates the ability to work for women. There is, however, limited research about how men with arthritis perceive their ability to maintain working.
Objectives The aim of this study was thus to explore how men with arthritis perceive their ability to maintain working.
Methods Nine employed men with arthritis were purposively sampled. Interviews were performed and were inspired by the central concepts of the Model of Human Occupation. The Empirical Phenomenological Psychological method was modified and used to analyze and interpret collected data.
Results The findings consist of six themes and fifteen sub-themes. The results showed that men with arthritis perceived a desire to work, adjusted their activity pattern, were aware of their own capabilities, had good work conditions, had environmental support and used effective medication to maintain their ability to work.
Conclusions This study has provided an understanding of how men with arthritis maintain their ability to work. In conclusion, to treat the symptoms of arthritis, in the more traditional way that for example hand dysfunction and pain are treated, may prevent sick-leave but as found in the present study the ability to work is complex and new strategies to support ability to work need to be developed in the occupational aspects of rheumatology care.
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Disclosure of Interest None Declared