Factors affecting attainment of paid employment after lung transplantation.

Cicutto L, Braidy C, Moloney S, Hutcheon M, Holness DL, Downey GP.
J Heart Lung Transplant. 2004 Apr;23(4):481-6.

BACKGROUND: Limited data exist regarding return to or attainment of paid employment after lung transplantation. Accordingly, the purpose of our study was to identify the issues relating to paid employment after this procedure.

METHODS: We conducted a mailed survey using Dillman’s protocol. We mailed questionnaires to surviving Toronto General Hospital lung transplant recipients (n = 190). We used descriptive statistics, t-tests, and chi-square tests to analyze the data.

RESULTS: A total of 117 lung transplant recipients completed the questionnaires (70% response rate). The mean age of respondents was 51 +/- 13 years. Fifty-one percent of the sample were women and 72% were married. Cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were the most frequent pre-transplant diagnoses. Fifty-six percent of participants had paid employment at some point before transplant. After transplant, 37% of respondents obtained employment. Individuals who obtained paid employment were more likely to be younger (p = 0.002), to have university degrees (p = 0.02), to report higher health ratings (p = 0.001), and to feel physically able to work (p = 0.01). They also were more likely to express a desire to enter the paid workforce (p < 0.0001); to describe receiving physician encouragement to work (p < 0.0001); to identify the possibility of obtaining paid employment as a primary motivator for the transplantation (p = 0.01); and to report that their previous jobs were available after transplantation (p = 0.01). All individuals who did not obtain paid employment cited personal or transplant-related factors.

CONCLUSIONS: Medical and social factors influence attainment of paid employment after lung transplantation. Important components of the pre-transplant assessment are discussion of expectations about attaining employment and openly exploring the recipient’s motivation for employment.

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