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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(11), 13807-13822;

Impact of Fatigue in Rheumatic Diseases in the Work Environment: A Qualitative Study

Discipline of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, St. James Hospital, James St., Dublin 8, Ireland
Department of Rheumatology, St. James’s Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 11 August 2015 / Revised: 19 October 2015 / Accepted: 22 October 2015 / Published: 28 October 2015
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Fatigue is a symptom of arthritis that causes difficulty at work. An improved understanding of this symptom could assist its management in the work environment. The aim of this study was to explore people with rheumatic diseases’ experiences of fatigue in work. A qualitative descriptive design was used with semi-structured interviews and a constant comparative method of data analysis. There were 18 participants, the majority of them female with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and working full-time. Three themes were identified: “Impact of fatigue on work performance” with cognition, mood and physical abilities being the main difficulties reported. In the second theme “Disclosure at Work” participants discussed disclosing their disease to employers but reported a lack of understanding of fatigue from colleagues. The final theme “work-based fatigue management strategies” included cognitive strategies and energy management techniques, which were mainly self-taught. In this study, fatigue was reported to impact on many areas of work performance with limited understanding from colleagues and employers. Interventions from health professionals to assist with development of work-related self-management skills are required to assist with symptom management in the work place. Such interventions should include education to employers and colleagues on the nature of fatigue in Rheumatic diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: fatigue; rheumatic diseases; disclosure; workplace accommodations; education fatigue; rheumatic diseases; disclosure; workplace accommodations; education

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Connolly, D.; Fitzpatrick, C.; O’Toole, L.; Doran, M.; O’Shea, F. Impact of Fatigue in Rheumatic Diseases in the Work Environment: A Qualitative Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 13807-13822.

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