Accommodations and Adaptations to Overcome Workplace Disability in Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients: A Systematic Review

Emma Paulides, Richard B Gearry, Nanne K H de Boer, Chris J J Mulder, Charles N Bernstein, Andrew M McCombie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic, incurable diseases which are often characterized by unpredictable flares and troubling symptoms which can interfere with a patient's ability to work. Accommodations in the workplace can help persons with IBD to cope with their illness and work effectively. We systematically reviewed all studies regarding workplace disability in IBD patients.

Summary: Systematic searches were undertaken on February 5 and March 5, 2018, for the following databases: PubMed, MEDLINE (Ovid), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and CINAHL, for studies that addressed workplace needs, accommodations and adaptations using survey tools. Of 430 studies screened, 54 met initial eligibility criteria and then 6 studies were ultimately included, with a total of 7,700 participants. Five studies were quantitative, and 1 study was qualitative. Common themes were the importance of reasonable adjustments and accommodations in the workplace, mixed with the finding that a significant proportion reported that they had some difficulty arranging accommodations. Adaptations most required were access to a toilet or toilet breaks and time to go to medical appointments.

Key Messages: People with IBD often need accommodations, but many do not ask or have difficulty arranging it. Better resources are needed to inform people with IBD about the possibilities for workplace accommodations and practical strategies to request them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-144
Number of pages7
JournalInflammatory intestinal diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

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