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SP0073 Practical employability support for young people with rmds
  1. M Mcallister
  1. Working Well with Arthritis Joint Working Service, Arthritis Care, Glasgow, United Kingdom


Background Arthritis Care is a UK national charity providing a range of support through three services;

Working Well with Arthritis - Joint Working employability service (Scotland only).

87% of Arthritis and Work Scotland 2016 survey respondents' state arthritis has a high or very high impact on work. Joint Working (JW) service aims to address this by:

Providing holistic employability support to individuals of working age to improve their capacity to manage their condition in work.

Providing employers support to increase understanding of arthritis within the workplace

Offering employers free Arthritis Awareness training.

Young People and Families Service (YPFS) for age 10 - 25 years.

Series of free, one day or weekend workshops, to help reduce social isolation, increase confidence and management of condition.

Living Well with Arthritis offers adults access to self management support such as:

Managing pain/symptoms; activity/exercise; health walks, Tai chi for arthritis; peer support.

Objectives Joint Working (JW) service aims to help individuals of working age with arthritis make informed decisions about work, support them to remain in, return to, or explore suitable work, training or alternative employability opportunities.

1 in every 1,000 young people in the UK has arthritis, YPFS complements medical treatment by providing additional social and emotional support, to help reduce isolation and increase resilience. With all services being delivered by Arthritis Care there is a natural crossover and support network for young people around transitioning from education to work.

The services aim to provide individuals with the knowledge, confidence, skills and support to empower them to make informed life and work decisions and access key support services - with the aim of improving their chances of remaining in work.

Method There is a partnership and referral process to JW via NHS Rheumatology Occupational Therapy staff, within specific NHS areas, though referral to JW is open to anyone with arthritis.

Partnership working with; NHS, employability networks and Arthritis Care YPFS is key to the success of JW service.

Individuals with arthritis often find; communicating their needs, understanding their rights and navigating the system can be complex and overwhelming.

Joint Working provides support through a range of mediums; 1 to 1 meetings (where practical), email and/or phone. Exploring areas of concern, improving understanding of rights, awareness of, and access to national employment support schemes, mainstream or disability employability services.

Results Young people who have used Joint Working service have been supported to access a range of services; obtaining specialist equipment or travel support to remain in work, returning to work after many years unemployed, work placement to support university course, volunteering or specialist employability opportunities,

Conclusions The employability interventions have positive psychosocial benefits, reducing feelings of isolation, increasing confidence and raising aspirations.

People with arthritis value the opportunity to discuss any issues they have remaining in, returning to or embarking on a career path.

The ongoing access to all Arthritis Cares services, ensure young people have a long-term support network.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

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