People in Europe are living longer. On the basis of this, European Union targets and national government policy aim to increase the number of older adults in work and extend working life. However, if increases in working life are accompanied by an increase in time spent with musculoskeletal conditions, such targets will be difficult to realise, with implications for older workers, clinicians, employers, health providers and government policy. Of particular concern are musculoskeletal disorders, such as osteoarthritis; the most common joint condition in adults and a frequent cause of joint pain and disability in older adults. Extensions to working life raises the likelihood that the prevalence of adults in employment with osteoarthritis will increase. However the extent to which osteoarthritis will impact on their ability to stay healthy and in work is unclear.
Measuring work capability in older people is challenging. However, population health indicators (e.g. healthy life expectancy) were developed to assess whether gains in life expectancy are years of healthy or unhealthy life. Healthy Working Life Expectancy (HWLE) is a longevity statistic that captures the number of years an average person aged between 50 and 70 years can expect to be both working and healthy. HWLE has been compared across European countries and over time using European Community Household Panel (ECHP). This presentation describes a study which explores (i) the impact of osteoarthritis on Healthy Work Life Expectancy in older adults and (ii) the factors that decrease HWLE in older adults with osteoarthritis.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared