Younger people with heart failure often experience poor self-rated health. Furthermore, poor self-rated health is associated with long-term sick leave and disability pension. Socio-demographic factors affect the ability to return to work. However, little is known about people on sick leave due to heart failure. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between self-rated health, mood, socio-demographic factors, sick leave compensation, encounters with healthcare professionals and social insurance officers and self-estimated ability to return to work, for people on sick leave due to heart failure. This population-based investigation had a cross-sectional design. Data were collected in Sweden in 2012 from two official registries and from a postal questionnaire. In total, 590 subjects, aged 23-67, responded (response rate 45.8%). Descriptive statistics, correlation analyses (Spearman bivariate analysis) and logistic regression analyses were used to investigate associations. Poor self-rated health was strongly associated with full sick leave compensation (OR = 4.1, p < .001). Compared self-rated health was moderately associated with low income (OR = 2.6, p = .003). Good self-rated health was strongly associated with positive encounters with healthcare professionals (OR = 3.0, p = .022) and to the impact of positive encounters with healthcare professionals on self-estimated ability to return to work (OR = 3.3, p < .001). People with heart failure are sicklisted for long periods of time and to a great extent receive disability pension. Not being able to work imposes reduced quality of life. Positive encounters with healthcare professionals and social insurance officers can be supportive when people with heart failure struggle to remain in working life.
2015. Vol. 20, no 5, 582-593 p.