Intractable Rare Dis Res. 2016;5(3):202-206. (DOI: 10.5582/irdr.2016.01041)
Perceptions regarding a range of work-related issues and corresponding support needs of individuals with an intractable disease.
Imahashi K, Fukatsu R, Nakajima Y, Nakamura M, Ito T, Horigome M, Haruna Y, Noda T, Itoyama Y
A number of persons with an intractable disease (ID) experience work-related problems that could lead to job loss. The aim of this study was to ascertain perceptions regarding a range of work-related issues and corresponding support needs of individuals with an ID. Potential participants were people ages 15 to 64 with one of the 130 intractable chronic diseases designated in the Act to Comprehensively Support the Daily and Social Activities of Persons with Disabilities (Comprehensive Support for the Disabled Act). Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire. With the assistance of patients' organizations, 3,000 questionnaires were mailed to potential participants. Questions included demographic characteristics, family concerns, employment/supported employment, work accommodations, and other aspects of life. Responses were received from 889 (29.6%) participants, and respondents had 57 IDs. Forty-six-point-seven percent of respondents reported being unemployed due to fatigue and/or long-term treatment. Nearly half of the unemployed respondents reported that they had been unable to work despite their willingness to do so. Common requests for accommodation included flexible work hours, working at home, and job/workplace modifications. Only 30% of respondents knew about job training programs and supported work available for persons with disabilities. The results of the study are relevant for employees, employers, and occupational health/human resource professionals. The issue of reasonable accommodations for persons with an ID needs to be addressed in future research in order to promote continued work by those persons.