Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Doogan, C., & Playford, E. D. (2014). Supporting work for people with multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 20 (6), 646-650.
Title:  Supporting work for people with multiple sclerosis
Authors:  Doogan, C., & Playford, E. D.
Year:  2014
Journal/Publication:  Multiple Sclerosis Journal
Publisher:  SAGE Publications
Full text:   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No
Research design:  Literature review

Structured abstract:

Background:  Individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience higher rates of unemployment than other groups of individuals with severe and chronic disabilities. Job loss is common for people with MS, beginning early after diagnosis and continuing incessantly. There are a multitude of reasons for job loss among this group of individuals, including, but not limited to, unpredictable relapses, physical and cognitive symptoms, as well as contextual factors such as the working environment. Vocational rehabilitation services are designed to provide individuals with MS support to obtain and retain employment.
Purpose:  The purpose was to explore the issues related to employment that face individuals with multiple sclerosis, and the services that can provide supports.
Findings:  Unemployment negatively impacts people‚Äôs health and quality of life, so steps need to be taken ensure job retention. Early workplace disclosure of MS is associated with higher levels of retention, and may lead to beneficial supports and alleviate issues around discrimination. A multidisciplinary team can work with the individual with MS and be helpful in managing workplace performance. This team can work to develop vocational rehabilitation interventions in real time to address specific problems being experienced in the workplace. Employment levels can be maintained if individuals with MS have access to appropriate assessments, job redeployment, and accommodations.
Conclusions:  There is limited evidence of benefit from specific vocational rehabilitation services or interventions. This is due in part because it is difficult to demonstrate that individuals have kept the jobs that they may have lost. Recording work outcomes needs to become more streamlined and future research needs to be in agreement on recording and evaluating these services.

Disabilities served:  Multiple sclerosis
Interventions:  Accommodations
Assistive technology
On-the-job training and support
Vocational rehabilitation