Understanding the impact of Non-Inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions on work and work transitions: a QUalitativE investigation (UNIQUE)

Duration: 9 months (TBC)
Funder: Wellcome Trust Insitutional Strategic Support Fund
Chief investigator: Dr LaKrista Morton
Other co-investigators: Dr Rosemary Hollick, Professor Gary Macfarlane

Musculoskeletal conditions affect around 1 in 3 of Scotland’s population and can have a substantial impact on people’s ability to work. The Making it Work™ programme in Canada has been successful in supporting people with inflammatory arthritis to stay in employment for as long as they wish to do so. The UNIQUE study aims to contribute to future work which will help to extend the scope and reach of this programme. Through a series of telephone interviews with people with non-inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions, we hope to identify key issues that are important to people working with non-inflammatory conditions.

Within future work, we will to use this information to  tailor the Making it Work™ programme to the Scottish population and healthcare system, over a wider range of musculoskeletal conditions.

 

Further information

What is the background to this study?

Musculoskeletal conditions affect around 1 in 3 of the Scottish population. These conditions have a substantial impact on people’s ability to work, and can put individuals at risk of leaving the workforce altogether. Despite this, few programmes exist to support people with musculoskeletal conditions to stay in work. We have identified an effective online programme developed in Canada called Making it Work™ which supports individuals working with inflammatory arthritis to stay in work for as long as they wish to do so. Ultimately, we plan to adapt this programme so that it is relevant for people in the UK and so that it is relevant for people working with both inflammatory and non-inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions, and the UNIQUE study will provide key perspectives on this future work.

What does the study aim to do?

This study aims to understand the key social, psychological and functional impacts of non-inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions and chronic musculoskeletal pain on work. We plan to use this information within a future study to help us adapt the Making it Work™ programme so that it can improve the working lives of individuals in the UK with both inflammatory and non-inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions. We plan to do this by gathering individual accounts on how their pain impacts their working life (including transitions such as decisions to change jobs or modify their existing work patterns), and by gaining their perspective on which impacts, if addressed, would have the greatest effect on work participation.

What will this research involve?

​​​​​The research will consist of a series of telephone interviews to gather the perspectives of people with a variety of non-inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions including fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. We will advertise the study publicly and clinicians will help us to identify patients who are potentially eligible. People who are interested in taking part will then be asked to complete a short screening questionnaire which we will use to assess their eligibility to take part in an interview.

The research team will then contact eligible potential participants to introduce the study, answer any questions, and finally to schedule an appointment time for their interview if they are interested to participate. The interview will take place over the telephone, and will cover various questions about the participant’s condition, working life, and the impact of the former on the latter. It is expected that the interview will last approximately 30-60 minutes, and interviews will be audio-recorded for subsequent transcription and analysis.

Who can take part in the study?

We are looking for people who are currently in paid employment and who have a non-inflammatory musculoskeletal condition (e.g. fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis).

Potentially eligible participants are currently being approached by participating clinicians within NHS Grampian.

How will this research benefit patients and society?

The Making it Work™ programme has been successful in Canada in supporting people with inflammatory arthritis to stay in work for as long as they wish to. This not only has obvious economic benefits for society and the individual, but participation in working life is also known to have many personal and social benefits. This study will help us get a clearer picture of the challenges to working life in the UK for people with non-inflammatory musculoskeletal conditions. Ultimately, this information will help us to effectively adapt the Making it Work™ programme for this country’s specific health and social care context and for people with a broader range of musculoskeletal conditions.  

Who is funding the study?

This study is being funded by the Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund.

Participant information sheet

To view the Participant Information Sheet*, click here.

* (Version 2, 22nd July 2021)

Contact details

Tel: +44 (0)1224 437863
Email: UNIQUE@abdn.ac.uk