RESEARCH PAPER
New insights into the socio-economic aspects of multiple sclerosis in a cohort of Polish patients
 
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1
Department of Neurology, 10th Military Research Hospital and Polyclinic, Bydgoszcz, Poland
2
Department of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Ergonomy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland
3
Department of Ophthalmology, 10th Military Research Hospital and Polyclinic, Bydgoszcz, Poland
4
Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Łukasz Rzepiński   

Department of Neurology, 10th Military Research Hospital and Polyclinic, Bydgoszcz, Poland
 
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction and objective:
The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the socio-economic aspects of patients’ lives and poses new challenges. The objectives of the study were: 1) to determine selected socio-economic aspects of MS in Poland in relation to the disease type and patients’ place of residence, and 2) to evaluate the profile of patients via the MS Society (MSS) and the occupational consequences of informing an employer about the diagnosis.

Material and methods:
A retrospective, observational study was undertaken to assess a cohort of 375 Polish MS patients. Socio-economic data was collected based on the patients’ responses to questions on a questionnaire. Clinical data was obtained from available medical records.

Results:
Patients with relapsing-remitting MS had a significantly longer time of occupational activity, higher economic status, higher level of education, better relationships with life partner, less likely to benefit from disability benefits, and members of MSS, than patients with progressive types of the disease. The patients living in rural areas had a significantly shorter time of occupational activity, more often experienced a decrease in income, received disability pension, and were less educated than urban residents. Patients who informed their employer about an MS diagnosis significantly more often received support from the company, were professionally active for longer, and less likely to experience a decrease in income. Membership of the MSS were dominated by patients with progressive variants of the disease and advanced disability.

Conclusions:
The disease variant and, to a lesser extent, the place of residence, affected the socio-economic aspects of MS. It might be advantageous for the patient to disclose information about MS diagnosis to the employer.

 
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