Having psoriatic arthritis (PsA) can make it difficult to complete occupational tasks. However, more aggressive treatment combined with a supportive work environment can help PsA patients achieve better work-life balance, according to research published in Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology.
Previous studies have reported increased absenteeism among patients with PsA. So, researchers from the from the University of Toronto’s Psoriatic Arthritis Program administered questionnaires to 186 patients attending a Psoriatic Arthritis Clinic to determine if their workday productivity was ever affected by their PsA.
Overall, 146 patients responded. Work productivity was measured by the Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ) scale to be assigned an overall work productivity score. Mean patient age was 50.5 years, 60.9% were men, and the average duration of PsA was 14.2 years.
Patients in the study reported that they worked a mean of 37.2 hours per week; 14.3% reported that their arthritis and/or psoriasis forced them to work fewer hours than they wanted.
In addition, 17.3% of patients lost at least one full work day and 28.7% lost at least one partial work day because of health concerns related to their PsA.
Mean reduction in work productivity due to illness was 4.3%, the WLQ results revealed. Productivity was significantly associated with sex, education status, Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score, and support at work, among other variables.
“This degree of work limitation is less than was found among a group of treatment resistant PsA patients, and is also lower than values reported in studies of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory arthritides, but still represents a significant source of morbidity for some patients,” wrote the researchers.
“These variables may be useful in identifying patients who require more aggressive intervention, including the use of effective drugs to control disease activity and advocacy for a more supportive work environment.”
- Kennedy M. Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2014 Apr 7. Retrieved from: http://www.clinexprheumatol.org/abstract.asp?a=7331.
Disclosure: The Psoriatic Arthritis Program is supported by a grant from the Krembil Foundation. Kennedy was supported by a Canadian Rheumatology Association Abbott Summer Scholarship.