Employment Study in MS Shows Value of Seeking Workplace Accommodations
August 13, 2020
In a survey of 70 people with MS, a majority of those who reported a stable or improved work situation over three years had sought out at least one work accommodation. The most common of these accommodations were flexible hours, written job instructions, the ability to work from home, and memory aids. Developing and achieving employment goals can be accomplished despite an MS diagnosis -- and the National MS Society is here to work with you as you navigate your employment
“Conscientiousness and deterioration in employment status in multiple sclerosis over 3 years”
- The symptoms of MS commonly appear in early adulthood, at a time when young people are typically establishing themselves in their careers. While the initial symptoms might not interfere with work activities to any significant degree, symptoms can change over the years, likely requiring some adaptation in the working life of the person with MS.
- In this study by researchers at The State University of New York, Buffalo, 25.7% of people with MS surveyed had experienced a decline in employment over three years, most often a change from full-time to part-time employment or to complete unemployment. This loss within a short period of time highlights the need to identify those at risk for job issues quickly, and to find ways to address those issues with workplace accommodations.
- The factor most associated with negative employment changes was what the investigators called reduced conscientiousness (being diligent, organized). Accommodations might help to increase the ability of people with MS to better organize themselves and become more goal-oriented at work.
- The National MS Society provides extensive resources for developing and achieving employment goals, including a video series, “Employment Matters – Managing MS in the Workplace,” guidance on deciding whether and when to disclose MS to employers, how to identify and request effective accommodations, and Working with MS, a workbook to help in considering career-related options.
by Michael G Jaworski, III, Ralph HB Benedict, PhD, and colleagues at State University of New York, Buffalo, is published in the MS Journal
(Published online August 6, 2020).
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. Currently there is no cure. Symptoms vary from person to person and may include disabling fatigue, mobility challenges, cognitive changes, and vision issues. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical to minimize disability. Significant progress is being made to achieve a world free of MS.