Impact of Long COVID on Productivity and Informal Caregiving

This study, titled “Impact of Long COVID on productivity and informal caregiving,” provides an in-depth analysis of the economic impacts of Long COVID (LC) on individuals in the UK.

Here’s a detailed summary:

Background:

  • Long COVID refers to two conditions: ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 (4-12 weeks post-infection) and post-COVID-19 syndrome (symptoms beyond 12 weeks without an alternative diagnosis).
  • As of March 2023, approximately 1.9 million people in the UK reported suffering from LC, with a significant portion experiencing symptoms for over two years.
  • LC symptoms include fatigue, breathlessness, pain, neurocognitive dysfunction, exercise intolerance, and functional disability.
  • Concerns revolve around the impact of LC on work status, productivity, and the burden on informal caregivers.

The Study (LOCOMOTION):

  • The LOCOMOTION study aims to optimize LC care in the UK, focusing on vocational rehabilitation and evaluating the impact of LC clinics on productivity losses and caregiver burden.
  • The study targets LC patients referred to specialist clinics, assessing the economic impact of the condition.

Methods:

  • Ethics approval was obtained, and patients provided informed consent.
  • The study involved LC patients newly referred to specialist clinics who registered on the ELAROS digital system.
  • The health economics questionnaire (HEQ) was used to measure productivity impacts, informal care receipt, and service utilization.
  • Covariates included secondary community health and social service utilization and variables collected digitally in ELAROS.

Key Findings:

  • Out of 366 patients who responded (average LC duration of about 450 days), 51.7% had reduced paid work hours since pre-infection.
  • Mean monthly work income decreased by 24.5%.
  • The average aggregate value of productivity loss since infection was estimated at £10,929 per person, equating to £5.7 billion nationally.
  • For informal caregiving, the corresponding values were £8,726 per person and £4.8 billion nationally.
  • Multivariate analyses revealed significant associations between health utility, C19-YRS subscale scores, and economic outcomes.
  • The study utilized the human capital approach and proxy goods method for valuing productivity losses and caregiving hours.
  • Results were extrapolated nationally using prevalence data from the Office for National Statistics.

Conclusion:

  • Long COVID significantly affects productivity and the provision of informal care.
  • High national prevalence of LC exacerbates these impacts.

This study highlights the substantial economic burden of Long COVID on both individual and national levels, emphasizing the need for comprehensive care strategies and support systems​​​​.

Read More: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10198-023-01653-z

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