Tomm Bernklev and colleagues determined the rate of work disability, unemployment, and sick leave in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The research team assessed an unselected cohort with IBD.
The researchers measured the effect of working status and disability on the patient's health-related quality of life.
All eligible patients were clinically examined and interviewed at the 5-year follow-up visit.
In addition, they completed 2 health-related quality of life questionnaires; the Short Form-36 Health Survey, and the Norwegian IBD Questionnaire.
Data regarding sick leave, unemployment, and disability pension also were collected.
|Women with Crohn's disease had the highest probability of receiving disability pension|
|Inflammatory Bowel Diseases|
All together, 495 patients were or had been in the workforce during the 5-year follow-up period since diagnosis.
The team compared 42 patients on disability pension with 9% of the background population.
The researchers noted that women with Crohn's disease had the highest probability of receiving disability pension, at 25%.
A total of 58 patients reported they were unemployed at 5 years.
The team observed that this was equally distributed between men and women, but was more frequent in patients with ulcerative colitis.
Sick leave for all causes was reported in 47% with ulcerative colitis, and 53% with Crohn's disease.
The team found that IBD-related sick leave was reported in 18% and 23%, in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, respectively.
The majority of patients had been sick less than 4 weeks, and only 25% of patients contributed to a large number of the total sick leave days.
Both unemployment and disability pension reduced health-related quality of life scores.
The team noted that the most pronounced effect on health-related quality of life was found in patients reporting IBD-related sick leave, using both questionnaires.
The observed differences also were highly clinically significant.
Multiple regression analysis confirmed that IBD-related sick leave was the independent variable.
The researchers noted that IBD-related sick leave had the strongest association to the observed reduction in health-related quality of life scores.
Mr Bernklev's team concludes, “Unemployment or sick leave is more common in IBD patients than in the Norwegian background population.”
“The number of patients receiving disability pension is significantly increased in women with Crohn's disease, but not in the other patient groups.”
“Unemployment, sick leave, and disability pension are related to the patient's health-related quality of life in a negative way, but this effect is most pronounced in patients reporting IBD-related sick leave.”