Inflammatory bowel disease: Greek patients' perspective on quality of life, information on the disease, work productivity and family support
Background The aim of this study was to identify inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients' perspectives regarding everyday life issues.
Methods From October 2010 till April 2011, 1,181 IBD patients completed an anonymous questionnaire through the internet (827 cases) or at the outpatient clinic of the participating centers (354 cases), aiming to identify: a) the impact of disease on social life, emotional status and work productivity; b) the source of disease information; and c) the level of support from family members and friends.
Results Fifty-five percent of the patients reported that IBD interferes with their social life, while 65% felt stressed, 60% depressed and 19% tired because of it. Disease information (physician/ internet) was reported only by 31%, while 26% admitted not discussing their therapy with their gastroenterologist. Forty percent felt that the health service they receive is not satisfactory, with 76% desiring more gastroenterologists, 67% more outpatient clinics, 49% more dieticians and 42% more psychologists specialized in IBD. IBD interfered with working capacity in 40% of the participants, while 57% needed time off of work (ranging from 1-20 days per year). One of three patients (32%) has not informed his work environment about the disease; however, 88% had the support of their family and friends for coping with it.
Conclusions Greek IBD patients claim that health-related social life, emotional status and work productivity are severely affected by their disease, whereas they complain about lack of information regarding the therapy. These unmet demands call for immediate action by healthcare providers and society.
Keywords Inflammatory bowel disease, quality of life, work productivity, patients' information on IBD, family support to cope with IBD