Kordovski VM, Frndak SE, Fisher CS, Rodgers J, Weinstock-Guttman B, Benedict RH. Identifying employed multiple sclerosis patients at-risk for job loss: When do negative work events pose a threat? Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2015;4:409-13.

BACKGROUND:Physical disability and cognitive impairment are significant predictors of unemployment in multiple sclerosis (MS). However, little is known about the frequency of work problems in employed patients, in comparison to employed healthy persons.
OBJECTIVE:Use an online monitoring tool to compare the frequency of negative work events in MS patients and healthy controls, and determine a threshold at which the frequency of work problems is clinically meaningful.
METHODS:The sample comprised 138 MS patients and 62 healthy controls. All reported on recent negative work events and accommodations using an online survey. The clinical test battery measured depression, motor and cognitive function. Statistical tests compared the frequency of work problems in MS patients and healthy controls. Clinical neuro-performance scales were then assessed in at-risk patients with many work problems, versus those with no work problems.
RESULTS:As a group, employed MS patients exhibited deficits in motor ability, verbal memory, and processing speed and were more likely than controls to report negative work events and accommodations. At-risk patients, that is, those reporting more than one negative work event, had more pronounced motor and cognitive deficits than their relatively stable counterparts.
CONCLUSION:The data show that employed MS patients report more negative work events and accommodations than employed healthy persons. Those patients deemed at risk for job loss have more cognitive and motor impairment, suggesting the need for cognitive training and specific accommodation strategies in the work place

We can all read this and conclusions are not surprising

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  • Groundbreaking.

    In my experience, with difficulty walking and severe fatigue, you don't even need cognitive issues to make working very, very hard. Continence issues compound this, e.g. even just mild anal sphincter affliction, as in my case. Who wants to fart by accident in front of colleagues, or heaven forbid, your boss?

    • Oh so true, Sterntaucher
      I am so lucky that I do not have any significant cognitive issues, which is just as well because it is my brain that earns my living, albeit only part-time now thanks to other impacts from MS. I used to feel challenged and fulfilled by what I did, but it sometimes required quite a lot of travel and some very long days – neither of which are possible for me now. Consequently, I am often bored at work as I cannot do what I used to, which reduces the mental stimulation work can offer me. Travel is out now – the distances between public toilets are too great for me, and taking several changes of clothes in case of "accidents" is not really practical (I think I'd rather fart in front of my boss than wet my pants!). I work in "health" and mobility issues mean that hiking long distances around large hospitals isn't possible any more. I hate having to ask about disability parking availability wherever I go – for both work and private purposes.

      I feel like I'm in between and rock and a hard place – with my reduced physical capacity so much of what I used get enjoyment and fulfilment from outside work has been taken away by MS, and work needs to fill the gap – but it can't because the MS is taking its toll there as well. However, I am thankful that I can still work – even if it is a real struggle some days. I know there will be some who would say I should get off my butt and find another job which will provide what I need, but that is easier said than done, especially in a profession where jobs are scarce in my part of the world, unless you are prepared to up sticks and move to a much larger city – not possible with the financial constraints imposed by part time work. And in trying to find another job you then have to cope with employers who will see the MS and its limitations first, and the skills and experience last. At least staying with my current employer means that they know my skills and abilities from before the MS really hit me, and they do what they can to accommodate my physical limitations, even if they cannot do much about the lack of mental stimulation.

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