Work productivity loss among rheumatoid arthritis patients in India: a qualitative study

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Objective. To explore to what extent rheumatoid arthritis (RA) impacts on work productivity loss in patients living with RA in India.
Methods. Face to face semi structured interviews took place in 13 male and 7 female patients attending outpatient clinics at Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, India living with RA. Patients currently working were recruited. Data were audio recorded, transcribed by an independent translation company and were analysed using the framework method of thematic analysis.
Results. Four themes that explained patients’ experiences of coping with work whilst having RA were identified. These included [1] “Balancing act of work and RA” where participants expressed their day to day struggle living with RA and coping at work. [2] “Work place adaptation after RA”: here participants shared insights into communicating with employers and their efforts to adapt at work place. [3] “Support from others and information to manage RA and work”: here participants had considered seeking support from different sources that would help them cope at work and understand RA. [4] “Wanting a better support mechanism”: here participants made recommendations that could help them cope at work.
Conclusion. This is the first study to have explored the impact of RA on patients’ work productivity in India. Patients may have different support needs compared to previous studies in other countries. Patients seem to be employing additional coping strategies not addressed by current interventions or country systems, which may not be sufficient to support patients in staying employed. Patients made future recommendations.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberrkz046
JournalRheumatology Advances in Practice
Early online date20 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Nov 2019


  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • South Asians
  • work productivity loss
  • India


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