There is a fundamental link between work status, health and well-being (Black, 2008; Waddell et al 2006, 2008). Identifying and addressing work problems early in the management of people with rheumatological conditions is important to improve wellbeing, reduce comorbidity and help prevent work disability, sickness absence and presenteeism (i.e. reduced work ability when at work). Empowering patients to manage their own condition is central to good medical practice. Shared decision-making enables this process, by “clinicians and patients working together to select tests, treatments, management or support packages, based on clinical evidence and the patient's informed preferences” (Kings Fund 2011).
Since 2005 Cardiff University has worked in collaboration with the Royal Colleges, Welsh and UK Government to undertake a programme of work to shift attitudes to the management of work and health in everyday consultations. Work initially focused on General Practitioners. However secondary care specialties that manage long-term conditions in patients of working age (e.g. Rheumatology) must also be targeted. The reasons why Rheumatology teams (doctors, rheumatology nurses and therapists) do not or inadequately address work issues can include; considering work issues as inappropriate to address within health consultations; attaching insufficient importance to work as an issue of concern for patients; and/ or insufficient knowledge, skills and/ or confidence to raise and then address work issues adequately, particularly within the constraints of clinic appointments. Cardiff University have developed and piloted a face-to-face training programme for Rheumatology team members (rheumatologists, nurse specialists, occupational therapists and physiotherapists) to address these issues and raise the importance of discussing work at an early stage in a patient's journey. To enhance this work Cardiff University has also developed and is piloting a tool to aid “shared decision-making” about work and health for both primary care and secondary care practitioners.
My presentation will provide the audience with an over view of the work undertaken and the results of the pilot training programmes
Disclosure of Interest None declared