Work productivity and MS

#MSBlog: MS reduces productivity; absenteeism and presenteeism in the workplace! 

Glanz et al. Work productivity in relapsing multiple sclerosis: associations with disability, depression, fatigue, anxiety, cognition, and health-related quality of life. Value Health. 2012;15:1029-35.

OBJECTIVES: To characterize work productivity in relapsing MS by using a work productivity scale and to identify associations between work productivity and disability, depression, fatigue, anxiety, cognition, and health-related quality of life.

METHODS: 377 subjects with a CIS or RRMS participated in the study. Subjects underwent neurological examinations and completed patient-reported outcome and cognitive measures. Subjects also completed the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Questionnaire: General Health to quantify absenteeism (missing work because of health problems), presenteeism (impairment while working), overall work impairment, and daily activity impairment attributable to health problems. Univariate correlations and multivariate models were used to determine the associations between each work productivity variable and clinical, patient-reported outcome, and cognitive measures.

"Presenteeism is the act of attending work while sick."

"Absenteeism is a habitual pattern of absence from a duty or obligation."

RESULTS: 76% of subjects were employed. 14% of working subjects reported absenteeism, and 47% reported presenteeism. The mean work time lost because of absenteeism was 4%, and the mean work time lost because of presenteeism was 12%. Absenteeism was not significantly associated with disease or patient-reported outcome measures. Statistically significant correlations (0.32-0.53) were found between presenteeism and increasing disability, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and reduced quality of life. No associations were observed between presenteeism and disease duration or cognitive function.

CONCLUSIONS: Subjects with clinically isolated syndrome/relapsing remitting MS reported substantial work productivity losses due to presenteesim. Presenteeism was associated with increasing fatigue, depression, anxiety, and reduced quality of life. It is possible that the early identification and treatment of fatigue and mental health symptoms may improve productivity while working and extend employment for individuals with MS.

"It is clear that having MS impacts on MSers ability to work and this is mainly due to the hidden impact  of the disease, i.e. fatigue, depression, anxiety, etc. The median time to unemployment in MS is ~8-10 years; in other words 50% of MSers are unemployed 8-10 years after diagnosis. Who said MS was not an economically devastating disease? Why don't NICE take into account the indirect costs to individuals and society, for example loss of employment, when assessing the cost-effectiveness of MS DMTs?"

Other posts of interest on employment:  

Multiple Sclerosis Research: Employment status, 11 Nov 2011; Employment status. Julian et al. Employment in multiple sclerosis. Exiting and re-entering the work force. J Neurol. 2008 Sep;255(9):1354-60. Background: MS is associated with significant economic burden and high rates of ...

Multiple Sclerosis Research: Employment and health status, 08 Dec 2011; Results: Of the respondents (mean age 40.5±6.2 years), 43.5% were employed. Significant differences between younger and older patients were found in employment, EDSS, disease duration, and five Short Form-36 Health ...

Ready to Work? Meeting the employment and career aspirations of ..., 21 Jun 2011; Meeting the employment and career aspirations of people with Multiple Sclerosis. We had a successful outing to the Houses of Parliament yesterday for the launch of the Work Foundation's report into working life years and ...

Multiple Sclerosis Research: Research: the early cost of MS, 24 Jul 2012; RESULTS: People with ON (ONers) had higher rates of contact with healthcare services, medication use and income from employment, all of which incurred a higher socioeconomic cost. Employed ONers had lower income ...

Multiple Sclerosis Research: Research: cognitive impairment and ..., 07 Nov 2012; Multiple Sclerosis Research: Employment status. 11 Nov 2011. Methods: MS'ers and disease characteristics associated with transitions to unemployment or employment were evaluated cross-sectionally and prospectively ...