Impact of Long COVID on productivity and informal caregiving.
Kwon J., Milne R., Rayner C., Rocha Lawrence R., Mullard J., Mir G., Delaney B., Sivan M., Petrou S.
BackgroundAround 2 million people in the UK suffer from Long COVID (LC). Of concern is the disease impact on productivity and informal care burden. This study aimed to quantify and value productivity losses and informal care receipt in a sample of LC patients in the UK.MethodsThe target population comprised LC patients referred to LC specialist clinics. The questionnaires included a health economics questionnaire (HEQ) measuring productivity impacts, informal care receipt and service utilisation, EQ-5D-5L, C19-YRS LC condition-specific measure, and sociodemographic and COVID-19 history variables. Outcomes were changes from the incident infection resulting in LC to the month preceding the survey in paid work status/h, work income, work performance and informal care receipt. The human capital approach valued productivity losses; the proxy goods method valued caregiving hours. The values were extrapolated nationally using published prevalence data. Multilevel regressions, nested by region, estimated associations between the outcomes and patient characteristics.Results366 patients responded to HEQ (mean LC duration 449.9 days). 51.7% reduced paid work hours relative to the pre-infection period. Mean monthly work income declined by 24.5%. The average aggregate value of productivity loss since incident infection was £10,929 (95% bootstrap confidence interval £8,844-£13,014) and £5.7 billion (£3.8-£7.6 billion) extrapolated nationally. The corresponding values for informal caregiving were £8,726 (£6,247-£11,204) and £4.8 billion (£2.6-£7.0 billion). Multivariate analyses found significant associations between each outcome and health utility and C19-YRS subscale scores.ConclusionLC significantly impacts productivity losses and provision of informal care, exacerbated by high national prevalence of LC.