Journal Article

Lost employment potential and supporting people with Parkinson’s to stay in work: Insights from a Pan European cross-sectional survey


Purpose. To explore, in a European cohort of people living with Parkinson’s (PD), issues affecting employment and economic consequences, considering age at diagnosis. Materials and methods. A cross-sectional survey (European convenience sample). Inclusion criteria were ≥18 years, a PD diagnosis and in work when diagnosed. Data were collected online on demographics, employment status, occupation, and perceived health. For those no longer in paid work, time from diagnosis until loss of employment, reasons for leaving and enablers to stay in work were ascertained. Results. Between April and November 2019, n = 692 enrolled and n = 560 were eligible. Those who had lost paid work (n = 190, 34%) reported worse fatigue, sleep, and general health than those still in work (p < 0.05). Average annual income reduced from €26973.48 ± 12013.22 (year-1) to €14843.85 ± 16969.84 (year-10). Post-diagnosis lost employment potential was 20.1 (95% confidence interval (CI): 16.6–23.6) years at career establishment, 9.8 (95%CI: 8.9–10.7) years at mid working and 1.2 (95%CI: 0.6–1.6) years for those nearing retirement age. A greater proportion of individuals at career establishment age reported dexterity, eating, sleep, fatigue, and anxiety as factors for leaving work (p < 0.05). Conclusions. This study confirms lost productivity after a PD diagnosis, especially in those with many years of potential employment ahead. The study also identified potential targets for interventions. Clinical trial registration: (NCT03905954). Implications for rehabilitation. People with Parkinson’s diagnosed at career establishment or at mid working age risk losing many years of potential employment. Most people with Parkinson’s do not receive early intervention to support self-management of problems identified with leaving work early, such as fatigue. Adaptations to the work environment and more flexible working patterns were identified factors that may help people remain in work.

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Collett, Johnny
Brusco, Natasha
Cordell, Nikki
Cockroft, Annette
Lawrie, Sophie
Coe, Shelly
Reed, Alex
Dawes, Helen

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work


Year of publication: 2022
Date of RADAR deposit: 2022-02-14

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

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