The impact of COPD on quality of life, productivity loss, and resource use among the elderly United States workforce

COPD. 2012 Feb;9(1):46-57. doi: 10.3109/15412555.2011.634863.


Abstract To address the gap in knowledge about the impact of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on older working adults, this study examined quality of life, worker productivity, and healthcare resource utilization among employed adults aged 65 and older with and without COPD. Among 2009 National Health and Wellness Survey (a cross-sectional, internet-based survey representative of the US adult population) respondents, employed adults aged 65 years and older, with COPD (n = 297) and without COPD (n = 3061), were included in analyses. Impact of self-reported COPD diagnosis on mean quality of life (using health utilities and mental, MCS, and physical, PCS, component summary scores from SF-12v2), work productivity and activity impairment (using the WPAI questionnaire), and resource use were examined. Adjusting for demographic and health characteristics such as co-morbidities (weighted to project to the US population) in regression models (linear, negative binomial, or logistic, as appropriate given the outcome measure), older workers with COPD reported significantly lower MCS (52.1 vs. 53.4, p < .05), PCS (40.3 vs. 47.2, p < .05), and health utilities (0.72 vs. 0.79, p < .05) than those without COPD, and significantly greater percentages of impairment while at work (presenteeism) (12.6% vs. 8.7%, p < .0001), overall work impairment (absenteeism and presenteeism combined) (19.3% vs. 10.0%, p < .05), and impairment in daily activities (23.9% vs. 13.7%, p < .05). There were no significant differences in absenteeism or healthcare use. Quality of life and work productivity suffered among employed adults aged 65 years and older with COPD, emphasizing the need for disease management in this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Black People
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • United States / epidemiology