Sarcoidosis and work participation: The need to develop a disease-specific core set for assessment of work ability

C. M. R. Hendriks, L. A. Saketkoo, M. D. P. Elfferich, J. de Vries, P. A. H. M. Wijnen, M. Drent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Objective
Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory multi-organ disease with a wide variety of clinical manifestations, affecting people of working age. Patients suffer from a broad spectrum of physical symptoms of varying severity that impact function including cognitive impairment and disabling fatigue. The Dutch Sarcoidosis Society identified a knowledge gap in various facets related to work ability. The aim of this study was to assess sarcoidosis patients’ perceived problems related to work performance, employer, and disability evaluations.

Methods
A cross-sectional web-based anonymous survey was conducted among Dutch sarcoidosis patients recruited through sarcoidosis patient societies and outpatient sarcoidosis clinics. This investigation queried work performance, employer support, and disability evaluations.

Results
The study sample included 755 patients of whom 43% (n = 328) had undergone disability evaluation and were significantly more likely to experience extrapulmonary symptoms, severe fatigue, reduced exercise capacity along with memory problems and concentration problems with higher mean FAS and SFNSL-scores. Of these 328, 37% (n = 121) perceived they had not been listened to or taken seriously at assessments, and 38% (n = 124) disagreed with the outcome of disability assessments by benefits authorities; 75% (n = 93) appealed or requested re-assessment.

Discussion
A better understanding of sarcoidosis-related impact on work ability and quantification of disease burden is needed. Education for medical examiners and employers on sarcoidosis may improve quality of assessments and work accommodations. Development of guidelines for benefit authorities, which consider the broad impact of sarcoidosis beyond that of reduced pulmonary function, including extra-pulmonary assessment like fatigue, cognitive difficulties, as well as other organ involvement are needed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-413
JournalLung
Volume197
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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    Hendriks, C. M. R., Saketkoo, L. A., Elfferich, M. D. P., de Vries, J., Wijnen, P. A. H. M., & Drent, M. (2019). Sarcoidosis and work participation: The need to develop a disease-specific core set for assessment of work ability. Lung, 197, 407-413. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00408-019-00234-3