Background Estonian Rheumatism Association is a patient and non-profit organization that for six years has organized the traditional Rehabilitation Conference where problems concerning rheumatic patients are discussed. The purpose of the event is to discuss the progress of rehabilitation facilities, their availability and quality. The World Health Organization reports that Estonia is one of the top countries in Europe where musculoskeletal disorders are one of the main reasons that decrease the active years of a lifespan. To improve the conditions, it is necessary for all involved parties to act as a union. The state has to prioritize reducing the expenses of treating patients with musculoskeletal disorders complaints. Estonia is also lacking an adequate co-operation between social and treatment systems. Right now, only having a disability ensures the access to the rehabilitation services. In other words, becoming disabled comes before reducing the level of disability, which should not be acceptable in development countries.
Objectives On March 22nd 2013 Estonian Rheumatism Association held Rehabilitation Conference that focused on rehabilitation of children and youngsters' back problems caused by musculoskeletal disorders. The objectives of the event were to discuss the development opportunities, particularly the availability and quality of the treatment. Estonian Society of Rehabilitation therapists have always been collaborating with Estonian Rheumatism Association while organizing Rehabilitation Conferences. The conference was aimed at rehabilitation physicians, physiotherapists, rheumatologists, occupational health professionals and other people who are related with the health system. In addition to health professionals, there were also some patients who had a chance to observe the discussion closely. In addition to those skilled in health system, speeches were given by The Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs, Health Insurance Fund, The Unemployment Insurance Fund, the Social Affairs Committee of the Parliament and many others.
Methods The Rehabilitation Conference was divided into two parts: the lectures and practical exercises. Surgical lecture gave information about the common complaints that should initiate patient to visit a spine surgeon and what methods are used in spine operations. A rehabilitation physician introduced purposes and options for back treatment. On the second half of the conference, physiotherapist introduced practical exercises that help to alleviate back problems. The activity of the final workshop was mainly aimed for patients and healthy people. An occupational physician introduced a suit that simulated rheumatoid arthritis.
Results The event was planned for 100 participants but in reality 162 professionals participated throughout the whole conference. It was noted that it is important for patients to get treatment at early stages.
Conclusions It is necessary to provide access to the rehabilitation services and timely treatment in order to reduce the number of unemployment among the working-aged people.
Disclosure of Interest None declared