Employment and Patient Satisfaction after Liver Transplantation

Christopher Cao, Dina Halegoua-DeMarzio, Shady Guirguis, Crystal Chen, Jonathan M Fenkel, Steven Herrine
Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology 2020 September 28, 8 (3): 299-303
Background and Aims: This study serves to revisit the effects of liver transplantation (LT) on employment in an era of improving survival outcomes post-transplant, and to identify areas of improvement in the transplant process to better optimize post-LT employment and patient satisfaction. Methods: Prospectively, patients who had undergone LT at a single tertiary LT center were surveyed in person and by e-mail. Primary outcomes included employment rate pre- and post-LT, annual salary, weekly hours worked, barriers to re-employment, and patient satisfaction. Results: Responses were collected and analyzed from 121 patients who underwent LT. Pre-LT, 68 (56.1%) reported full-time employment, 13 (10.7%) part-time employment, and 40 (33.1%) unemployment. Post-LT, 26 (21.4%) reported continued full-time employment, 18 (14.9%) part-time employment, and 77 (63.6%) unemployment. Average weekly work hours decreased post-LT (16.1 h/week vs. 39.9 h/week). Mean annual salaries decreased post-LT (17 earning salary ≥$40,000 vs. 56 earning salary ≥$40,000). These outcomes differed from patient pre-LT expectations, with 81.0% of previously employed patients believing they would return to employment, resulting in decreased patient satisfaction. Patients working physically demanding jobs pre-LT were less likely to return to work. Reasons cited for lack of return to full employment included early fatigue and difficulty regaining physical strength. Conclusions: Re-employment rates remain low post-LT, which is particularly true for patients working physically active jobs. Fatigue is a significant barrier to re-employment and increased physical rehabilitation post-LT may prove to be beneficial. Patients should be given realistic expectations about return to employment prior to their LT.

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