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Rheumatoid arthritis: Vocational rehabilitation
Cochrane, G. M.
International Rehabilitation Medicine, 1982, Volume 4 (Number 3), Seite 148-153, Basel: EULAR Publishers, ISSN: 0379-0797
The consequences of inflation and accelerating introduction of automation and microprocessors into industry are a shift from unskilled to skilled work, the lessening of opportunities for the unskilled worker, and growing unemployment. If disabled people are competing for employment they must take every opportunity to extend education and acquire skills. Juvenile chronic arthritis presents one set of problems in vocational rehabilitation at the beginning of a working career and adult rheumatoid arthritis another, commonly in those over 45 years old and previously established in work.
The prevalence of severe disability in juvenile chronic arthritis is about 1 in 20 000 of the population, females are affected twice as often as males and 1 in 10 has defective vision or blindness due to chronic iridocyclitis. At school, besides education, there must be emphasis on encouraging independence, self-confidence, mobility and determination. A School Leavers' Conference early in the last year at school gives the adolescent the best chance of choosing a career.
Rheumatoid arthritis is three times more common in women and increasingly, over the last 40 years, women are working besides home-making. Morning stiffness, fatigue, immobility and pain are the common symptoms of widespread involvement of joints and systemic disturbance. The principal determinant in the success of vocational rehabilitation is personality, and the social and environmental factors are more significant than the degree of disability.
The Disablement Resettlement Officer can assure continuity of rehabilitation between the health and employment services: a favourable outcome is work, self-derived income independence and freedom of movement using whatever technical aids are required to achieve this.
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