Use of prescribed medication at work in employees with chronic illness

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BackgroundThis study examined factors associated with the use of prescribed medication at work.MethodsQuestionnaire survey of employees with diagnosed chronic illnesses from four UK organizations. Data were collected on type of chronic illness, health status, health beliefs, work limitations, occupational health support, general practitioner (GP) and line manager support. Data were analysed using univariate logistic regression.ResultsA total of 1474 employees with chronic illness participated. Medication use at work (yes versus no) was predicted by age, pain, diagnosis of heart disease, medication use at home, benefit of prescribed medication to health, ease of using medication at work, practical support from families and practical and emotional support from GP and line manager. In a multivariate logistic regression model, medication use at work was predicted by medication use at home and ease of using medication at work only.ConclusionsThe ease of taking medication at work was found to be a key predictor of medication use at work, suggesting occupational health may play a vital role in finding ways to support employees in their usage of medication. This may be for example by providing help and guidance in storing medication at work and encouraging employees to disclose medication use to employers and managers where necessary. Occupational health services can help create a workplace culture that places a high value on health, educating staff on the value of looking after their health and the benefits of following advice.

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