Arthritis and Employment: Making it WorkTM!

PHASE II: Creating a Web-based, eLearning Version of the Program

Principal Investigator

Diane Lacaille, MD, MHSc, FRCPC
Mary Pack Chair in Arthritis Research
Senior Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada
Associate Professor, University of British Columbia


Why do this research?

Work loss is a common and early outcome of inflammatory arthritis. This can have a major impact on people’s quality of life, and has a high cost to those affected, their families and society. In phase I of this research, we developed and pilot tested a novel program aimed at preventing work disability and helping people with arthritis deal with the difficulties they encounter at work. The program was delivered in a traditional format with a paper based manual and face-to-face group meetings.

In phase II, we are converting our program into a web-based format. This change is in response to feedback from participants who found it difficult to attend sessions at the end of a workday because of the fatigue people with arthritis often experience. It is also consistent with current trends in adult learning, health education and self-management where eLearning is growing. eLearning will also make the program more accessible to a greater number of people with arthritis, including those in remote communities.


When will the results be reported?

The conversion of ‘Making It WorkTM into a web-based format has been completed. We are currently testing the effectiveness of the web-based version of the program at preventing work disability and improving at work productivity in a randomized controlled trial.


How was this study conducted? 

This project was done in collaboration with the Centre for Digital Media (CDM) and Arthritis Consumer Experts (ACE).

As part of their educational requirements, Master’s students from the Centre for Digital Media were engaged to convert the content of our self-learning manual into interactive, web-based learning modules using digital media. We consulted with members of the Consumer Advisory Board at all stages of the conversion to ensure the content was clear and the format was easy to use. We invited employed people with arthritis to contribute to the program as models, demonstrating the principles taught. The modules include a combination of text, art work, audio recordings, video-clips, self-learning activities and animations to demonstrate skills and techniques. There are also lists of resources and services that people can access according to their needs and geographic location.

Consultations with employment-related professionals are also included in the eLearning version. Participants will have in-person consultations with an occupational therapist for an ergonomic work assessment and a web-based meeting with a vocational counsellor.


Funding Agency

This research was supported by a knowledge translation and exchange grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).




Catherine Backman PhD, OT, FCAOT
Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada
Professor, Department of Occupational Science, University of British Columbia

John Esdaile MD, MPH, FRCPC
Scientific Director, Arthritis Research Canada
Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, University of British Columbia

Linda Li BSc(PT), MSc, PhD
Senior Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada
Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia



Research Staff

Pam Rogers MA
Research Coordinator, Arthritis Research Canada




Arthritis Consumer Experts – Cheryl Koehn

Consumer Advisory Board – Pam Montie, Otto Kamensek, Nadia Prestley