Work is important in a lifetime! It brings a sense of accomplishment and pride to anyone, healthy or sick. In arthritis patients, however, work can be very energy consuming, and often the patients feel that they are only getting treatment so they can be able to work. Recreation, family, friends and home maintenance can become even bigger burdens than getting up every morning to go to work. Do not be embarrassed to talk to your doctor about it as he can suggest services for people with arthritis. For example, a social worker can take charge of your needs and refer you to resources that are often not well known to employers and even sometimes, to your health care team, especially if you live in a different area from the rheumatology clinic your specialist is affiliated with.
Keep in mind that you are not just someone with arthritis, you are a person with skills and you can offer a lot to any company. You should focus on these aspects and most importantly, do not lie about your health, but rather explain it.
Fortunately, more and more resources are being developed to provide support and information for both the employer and the employee.
For the employee or the person looking for work:
This is a non-profit organization that can support you in your job search if you believe that the position you currently hold is no longer appropriate for you and that your employer is closed to the idea of reorganizing your workload. You must live in the city of Montreal to gain access to that program. If you have lost your job and do not want to stop working, they have a list of employers ready to hire competent people despite their disability or chronic illness. You can check their website here.
If, unfortunately, you cannot get back to work or keep your job, the Régie des rentes du Québec’s website has all the information you need about disability. You can read about it here.
Constance-Lethbridge Rehabilitation Center
This rehabilitation center offers a multidisciplinary approach that includes physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers and much more. You must meet certain criteria to qualify. They can help you regain strength, adapt your car, your home and help you reorganize your life by helping you find a job that's right for you. Discuss this option with your rheumatologist so he can fill out an application form for this center.