Help support plan members with a chronic disease

Help support plan members with a chronic disease

The annual Sanofi Survey determines the effectiveness of Canada’s employer-sponsored benefit plans. This year’s report showed that many employers underestimate the presence of chronic disease in the workplace.

Collectively, plan sponsors believe that 29% of their workforce is dealing with a chronic disease or condition. However, 58% of the workforce has been diagnosed by a doctor with at least one chronic condition. This number increases for plan members between the ages of 55 and 64, as well as for those in poor financial health.

The top five chronic conditions plan members experience are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Mental illness
  • High cholesterol
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes

The impact of chronic disease on plan members

Plan members with a chronic disease or condition are more likely to feel tired or fatigued at work, and have more difficulty concentrating. They take frequent breaks to deal with their condition, often leave work because they’re feeling ill, and require increased time off for health care appointments.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, chronic disease results in approximately $122 billion in lost productivity each year.

How you can help support and prevent chronic disease in the workplace

Luckily, most chronic conditions are preventable, or can be improved, by living healthier lifestyles. Employers can help foster a healthier workplace by implementing programs that support plan member health. Here are some approaches you can take to help your employees improve their health:

  • Implement wellness programs to screen for common chronic conditions, such as blood pressure testing, diabetes or cardiovascular screening, and flu shot programs.
  • Run health and fitness challenges or campaigns in your workplace.
  • Offer employee education seminars that teach concepts like nutrition, physical activity and stress management.
  • Make mental health a priority by introducing a mental health strategy.
  • If you have an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP), remind employees that health and nutrition coaching is available and how to access it.

For more information on how to support chronic disease in the workplace through your Group Benefits plan, contact your Group Benefits Advisor.