Arthritis & Rheumatism, Volume 63,
November 2011 Abstract Supplement

Abstracts of the American College of
Rheumatology/Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals
Annual Scientific Meeting
Chicago, Illinois November 4-9, 2011.


The Workplace Activity Limitations Among Lupus Patients.

Al-Dhanhani1,  Ali, Gignac2,  M. A., Beaton3,  Dorcas E., Su4,  Jiandong, Fortin5,  Paul R.

UAE University, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates,
Health Care and Outcomes Research, Toronto Western Research Institute; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
Ontario Workers Comp Institute, Toronto, ON
The Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON
Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON

Background/Purpose:

Evidence in the literature suggests that people with lupus are at risk of work loss soon after diagnosis, but little is known about the experience of those people while at work. The objective of this study was to examine the extent of workplace activity limitations among persons with lupus and to determine factors associated with workplace activity limitations.

Methods:

This is a cross sectional study using a mail survey of persons with lupus who attend a large single outpatient lupus clinic. We combined the survey data with the clinical data available for those patients from the clinic database. Eligible patient were those who read and wrote English and who were seen in the clinic in the previous two years. We used the workplace activity limitations measure (WALS), a 12-items scale that measures difficulty related to different activities at work. Through the survey, we collected data on demographics and health, work factors and psychosocial measures. Descriptive statistics, followed by univariate and multivariate (MV) regression analyses were performed.

Results:

There were 604 eligible patients who were sent the survey. We had 362 responders (60% response rate). The mean age of respondents was 47.7 ± 15.0 and disease duration was 17.7±11.0. Eighty eight percent of responders were females. There were only 50% of respondent who were in the workforce. Among those who were not working, 52% reported not working because of lupus. In all the items of the WALS with one exception those who recently left the workforce had statistically significant more difficulty with work tasks compared to those who are currently at work table 1. Among working groups, 12% had difficulty in 9 items or more, compared to 43% among those who recently left the workforce. Those who left the work force had more difficulty in lifting, carrying or moving objects. Among those working, we document more difficulty crouching, bending, kneeling or working in awkward positions. In the multivariate analysis, factors associated with workplace activity limitations were age, disease activity, fatigue, health status measured by SF-36, job control, job strain, and working more than 40 hours/week.

Table 1. Percentage of people reporting difficulties in WALS items, a comparison between employed and not employed participants (but recently left the workforce in the previous five years) on the workplace activity limitations scale (WALS).

 Not employed (N = 65) %Employed (N = 180) %Difference (p-value)
  1. How much difficulty would you have getting to and from work (e.g., subway, bus, car, walking) and getting to and from work on time?32.317.90.0157 *
  2. How much difficulty would you have getting around the workplace (e.g., stairs, hallways, furniture)?41.517.2<0.0001 *
  3. How much difficulty would you have sitting for long periods of time at your job (e.g., more than 20 minutes)?43.128.30.0293 *
  4. How much difficulty would you have standing for long periods of time at your job (e.g., more than 20 minutes)?56.933.90.0012 *
  5. How much difficulty would you have lifting, carrying or moving objects?64.642.20.0020 *
  6. How much difficulty would you have working with your hands (e.g., writing, typing, grasping small objects, holding a phone)?52.327.20.0002 *
  7. How much difficulty would you have crouching, bending, kneeling or working in awkward positions?60.057.80.7554
  8. How much difficulty would you have reaching?46.923.00.0003 *
  9. How much difficulty would you have with the schedule or hours of work that your job requires?62.536.10.0003 *
10. How much difficulty would you have with the pace of work that your job requires?63.137.40.0004 *
11. Overall, how much difficulty would you have meeting your current job demands?60.336.70.0011 *
12. As a result of your lupus, how much difficulty would you have concentrating or keeping your mind on your work?63.138.60.0007*

Conclusion:

People with lupus experience significant limitations and difficulty at work. Determinants of workplace activity limitations are mainly those related to health, and workplace related factors.

To cite this abstract, please use the following information:
Al-Dhanhani, Ali, Gignac, M. A., Beaton, Dorcas E., Su, Jiandong, Fortin, Paul R.; The Workplace Activity Limitations Among Lupus Patients. [abstract]. Arthritis Rheum 2011;63 Suppl 10 :2292
DOI:

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