Impact of multiple sclerosis on employment and use of job-retention strategies: The situation in France in 2015
Sophie Fantoni-Quinton, Arnaud Kwiatkowski, Patrick Vermersch, Bastien Roux, Patrick Hautecoeur, Ariane Leroyer
Department of Occupational Health, Université de Lille, Lille, France
Objective: The main objective of this survey of persons with multiple sclerosis was to describe their employment situation. Secondary objectives were to ascertain when and how multiple sclerosis symptoms first impact employment per se and what strategies persons with multiple sclerosis use to cope with their employment problems.
Methods: A retrospective survey was conducted to collect data from persons with multiple sclerosis aged 18 years and over, using a computer-assisted web tool.
Results: A total of 941 respondents were working at the time of multiple sclerosis diagnosis or had worked subsequently. Median time since diagnosis was 10 years. Multiple sclerosis had an impact on employment for 74.3% of respondents. The overall employment rate at the time of the survey was 68.1%; 27.2% had discontinued their occupational activity for a multiple sclerosis-related reason. Median time from diagnosis to multiple sclerosis-related cessation of occupational activity was 24.0 years (95% confidence interval (CI) 21.7–26.3 years). Respondents were poorly aware of available tools designed to assist them in retaining employment.
Conclusion: This study highlights the importance of early intervention by the occupational medicine physician in order to favour job retention and use of available tools by all workers with MS and not only those with a recognized status as a disabled worker.
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