The Working It Out campaign is helping people living with psoriatic disease to get the care and support they need at work
Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are episodic and chronic diseases that can result in disability without appropriate care, treatment, and support — including in the workplace. The onset of psoriatic disease — including psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis — can happen at any age, though psoriasis is typically diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30 or 50 and 60, prime periods of entering or preparing to exit the workforce. The implications of living with psoriatic disease can be significant for people during their working years.
To understand and address the needs of people with psoriatic disease at work, the Canadian Psoriasis Network(CPN), the Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients (CAPP), and Unmasking Psoriasis, an awareness group in Saskatchewan, launched Working It Out, a three-year campaign started in 2021 focused on the experiences of people with psoriatic disease in the workplace.
Understanding the impact of psoriatic disease
Findings from the Working It Out collaboration highlight that significant numbers of people in Canada with psoriatic disease say their condition has a major impact on their work, including challenges with performing physical tasks, such as standing for long periods of time, and staying focused because of fatigue.
Navigating support can also present unique challenges because of the nature of psoriatic disease. Unlike some conditions, where accommodation needs may be more predictable and permanent, with episodic disabilities, symptoms tend to ebb and flow, requiring flexible approaches to workplace accommodations to support people when they need them most.
Findings also highlight that many people worry about how psoriatic disease may affect their ability to stay employed. Workplaces can make a difference by understanding and addressing episodic disabilities in their policies, providing employees with the tools that they need to understand workplace policies on disability and accommodations, and supporting workers who need them.
Navigating workplace policies and support
Based on these findings, the CPN, the CAPP, and Unmasking Psoriasis developed tools and resources to raise awareness of the issues and help people with psoriatic disease, their employers, and their health care providers navigate workplace policies and support. These include, among others, Demystifying Workplace Accommodation: A Guide for People with Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis, Legal Rights and Obligations for Employees and Employers Around Workplace Accommodations for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis, and Working it Out for Psoriatic Disease, a navigation tool for income support, employment programs, and other resources that may be available to people with psoriatic disease in Canada.
Find these resources and more at workingitout.ca, a site dedicated to providing information and tools for supporting people with psoriatic disease in the workplace.