Study participants and now missing patients in clinical trials come from all walks of life. That can often prove to be one of the more common LTFU challenges. When a participant or patient ends up on the LTFU list, the reason why can vary wildly.
In some cases, studies involve an older population and they undergo many of the normal changes that come with being elderly like, moving into assisted living or nursing home facilities, moving in with relatives / children and undertaking extended travel. Dementia and other health issues also occur frequently and can lead to lack of response and follow up with the study coordinator. For younger populations, we are now experiencing a new generation, presenting new LTFU challenges, which has a growing percentage of members who do not reside anywhere long term, rather they stay at multiple places for short times and move on. In other cases, they undergo social or emotional problems and end up intentionally trying to stay “underground” to hide from creditors, ex-spouses, law enforcement and the like. In yet other cases, participants or patients may become angry toward or ambivalent of the study and actively trying to avoid follow up.