SICKNESS ABSENCE AND SUPPORT IN EMPLOYEES WITH POST-COVID SYNDROME: AN AUDIT AT A LARGE LONDON HOSPITAL
E. C. Richardson, St Georges NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
Around 46% of employees diagnosed with COVID-19 experience symptoms for more than 6 months(1). Whilst some symptomatic employees will return to work, others will require further rehabilitation. It is therefore vital we recognise the positive predictors and length of sickness absence to aid in early identification of employees for enrolment onto programmes to minimise absence, as well as aid in workforce planning(2).
- Identify demographic factors associated with sickness absence in employees with Post-Covid Syndrome.
- Implement a support programme to minimise sickness absence for these employees.
We reviewed occupational health records for employees who were symptomatic with COVID for >4 weeks between March 2020 and May 2021. Eighty-one employees were identified as meeting this criterion. Data was analysed using descriptive statistics.
- Sickness absence was commonest in females n=60 (74%), with a mean age of 42 years.
- Under half of the employees were Nurses/ Health Care Assistants n=34 (41%).
- The lowest occupational role with sickness absence was Allied Health Professionals n=6 (7%).
- The mean length of sickness absence was 8.75 weeks, for those hospitalised it was 9.6 weeks.
Our data suggests that sickness absence was commonest in female employees and that hospitalisation was associated with longer episodes of sickness absence in Post-Covid Syndrome. This data can be used when advising managers on sickness absence in Post-Covid Syndrome. We established a multidisciplinary support team to provide regular reviews and an educational programme for employees. Future studies should evaluate the impact of Post-Covid Syndrome support services on absence.
- Klein H, Asseo K, Karni N, Benjamini Y, Nir-Paz R, Muszkat M, et al. Onset, duration and unresolved symptoms, including smell and taste changes, in mild COVID-19 infection: a cohort study in Israeli patients. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. 2021 May;27(5):769–74.
- Tenforde MW, Kim SS, Lindsell CJ, Billig Rose E, Shapiro NI, Files DC, et al. Symptom Duration and Risk Factors for Delayed Return to Usual Health Among Outpatients with COVID-19 in a Multistate Health Care Systems Network - United States, March-June 2020. MMWR Morbidity and mortality weekly report. 2020 Jul 31;69(30):993–8.