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vol. 51
Original paper

The impact of rheumatoid arthritis on the economic situation of Polish households

Jolanta Grygielska

Reumatologia 2013; 51, 5: 348-354
Online publish date: 2013/10/31
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Objectives: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease which causes patient disability and affects the situation of the patient’s household. On the one hand, the disease is associated with treatment costs and the need to adapt the patient’s environment but on the other hand it limits the employment options available to the patients and their families. The purpose of this work is to evaluate the cost of rheumatoid arthritis and to verify whether the disease has an impact on the economic situation of households.

Material and methods: The survey study was conducted by professional surveyors between November 2009 and March 2010. The study included 1,000 respondents with diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from the patient pool of 50 randomly selected Polish rheumatology outpatient clinics.

Results: The obtained results related to household budgets were compared with data available from the Central Statistical Office (GUS) for 2009 (desk research). The comparison indicates that RA actually affects the household budgets. RA patient households have reduced income levels as compared to the national average and their expenditures on healthcare per person are almost twice as high. While the average household expenditures related to healthcare amount to PLN 47.90, the expenditures of RA patient households reach PLN 93.37. Financial issues were reported by 49% of RA patient households as compared to 20% of households in general (acc. to GUS). Also, the assistance provided by third parties significantly affects the cost level.

Conclusions: The disease significantly limits earning options available to the patients and their families and at the same time it increases the costs related to treatment and patient disability. In order to reduce the socio-economic impact of the disease it is necessary to ensure early diagnosis and early onset of appropriate treatment.

rheumatoid arthritis, cost of disease, household budget, survey

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