Protracted, multi-year wait times exist for bariatric care in Canada. Our objective was to examine wait-listed patients' health status and perceptions regarding the consequences of prolonged wait times using a cross-sectional study design nested within a prospective cohort.
150 consecutive consenting subjects wait-listed for multi-disciplinary bariatric assessment in a population-based medical/surgical bariatric program were surveyed. Health status was measured using a visual analogue scale (VAS). A Waiting List Impact Questionnaire (WLIQ) examined employment, physical stress, social support, frustration, quality of life, and satisfaction with care. Multivariable linear regression analysis adjusted for age, sex and BMI identified independent predictors of lower VAS scores.
136 (91%) subjects were women, mean age was 43?years (SD 9), mean BMI was 49.4 (SD 8.3) kg/m2 and average time wait-listed was 64?days (SD 76). The mean VAS score was 53/100 (SD 22). According to the WLIQ, 47% of subjects agreed/strongly agreed that waiting affected their quality of life, 65% described wait times as 'concerning' and 81% as 'frustrating'. 86% reported worsening of physical symptoms over time. Nevertheless, only 31% were dissatisfied/very dissatisfied with their overall medical care. Independent predictors of lower VAS scores were higher BMI (beta coefficient 0.42; p?=?0.03), unemployment (13.7; p?=?0.01) and depression (10.3; p?=?0.003).
Patients wait-listed for bariatric care self-reported very impaired health status and other adverse consequences, attributing these to protracted waits. These data may help benchmark the level of health impairment in this population, understand the physical and mental toll of waiting, and assist with wait list management.
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