Purpose To explore solutions that people with a chronic disease use to overcome difficulties they experience regarding participating in work, and the support they require to identify or implement these solutions. Methods Focus groups were held to explore solutions and support requirements of people with a chronic disease. Participants were recruited through a research institution’s patient panel, a patient federation and personal networks. Analysis was conducted by means of open and selective coding, using the MAXQDA software package. Results Five focus groups were held with 19 participants with different chronic diseases. Solutions that were identified included learning to accept and cope with the disease, which is frequently supported by family and friends. Disclosing the disease to employers and colleagues, identifying active ways to help with duties, and implementing adaptations to the work environment were all effective solutions with the help, empathy and understanding of people in the work environment. Solutions mostly supported by patient associations included providing sufficient information about the disease, relevant help and protective legal regulations regarding work participation. Finally, health professionals could support solutions such as incorporating periods of rest, promoting self-efficacy and gaining insight into an individual’s ability to participate in work. Conclusions People with a chronic disease suggested various solutions that can help overcome difficulties surrounding participating in work. Support from friends and family, patient associations, employers, colleagues and occupational health professionals is needed to help identify and implement suitable solutions.
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 18, 2017
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