Purpose Workers with persistent disabling low back pain (LBP) often encounter difficulty staying at work. Self-management (SM) programs can offer interesting avenues to help workers stay at work. Objective To establish the plausibility of a logic model operationalizing a SM program designed to help workers with persistent disabling LBP stay at work. Methods We used a qualitative design. A preliminary version of the logic model was developed based on the literature and McLaughlin et al.'s framework for logic models. Clinicians in work rehabilitation completed an online survey on the plausibility of the logic model and proposed modifications, which were discussed in a focus group. Thematic analyses were performed. Results Participants (n = 11) found the model plausible, contingent upon a few modifications. They raised the importance of making more explicit the margin of maneuver or "job leeway" for a worker who is trying to stay at work and suggested emphasizing a capability approach. Enhancing the workers' perceived self-efficacy and communication skills were deemed essential tasks of the model. Conclusions A plausible logic model for a SM program designed for workers with disabling LBP stay at work was developed. The next step will be to assess its acceptability with potential users.
Source: Longtin C, Tousignant-Laflamme Y, Coutu MF, Work, 2020 Oct.
Purpose Returning to work after surgery is a primary concern of patients who are contemplating total joint arthroplasty (TJA). The ability to return to work has enormous influence on the patient's independence, financial well-being, and daily activities. The goal of this study was to determine the independent patient variables that predict return to work as well as to create a predictive model. Methods From June 2017 to December 2017, a total of 391 patients who underwent primary TJA (243 hips, 148 knees) were prospectively enrolled in the study to obtain information on return to work after surgery. Patients were sent a series of questions in a biweekly survey. Information was collected on the physical demands of their occupation, the number of hours spent standing, the limitations to return to work, and the use of assistive devices. Bivariate analysis was performed, and a multiple linear regression model was created. Results Most (89.6%) patients returned to work within 12 weeks of surgery. Patients who underwent total hip arthroplasty returned to work earlier than those who underwent total knee arthroplasty (5.56 vs 7.79 weeks, respectively). Analysis showed the following independent predictors for faster return to work: self-employment, availability of light-duty work, male sex, and higher income. Predictors for slower return to work included a physically demanding occupation (at least 50% physical duties), knee arthroplasty, longer length of stay, and a job requiring more hours spent standing. This model reported an adjusted R2 of 0.332. Conclusions The findings provide an objective predictive model of the patient- and procedure-specific characteristics that affect postoperative return to work. Surgeons should consider these factors when counseling patients on their postoperative expectations.
Source : Rondon AJ, Tan TL, Greenky MR, Kheir MM, Foltz C, Purtill JJ, Orthopedics, Vol. 43(5), p. e415-e420, 2020.
Purpose The ability of total knee and hip arthroplasty (TKA/THA) to facilitate return to work (RTW) when it is the patient's preoperative intent to do so remains unclear. We aimed at determining whether TKA/THA facilitated RTW in patients of working age who intended to return. Methods This is a prospective cohort study of 173 consecutive patients <65 years of age, undergoing unilateral TKA (n = 82: median age 58; range, 39-65; 36 [43.9%] male) or THA (n = 91: median age 59; range, 34-65; 42 [46.2%] male) during 2018. Oxford knee/hip scores, Oxford-Activity and Participation Questionnaire, and EuroQol-5 dimension (EQ-5D) scores were measured preoperatively and at 1 year when an employment questionnaire was also completed. Results Of patients who intended to RTW, 44 of 52 (84.6%) RTW by 1 year following TKA (at mean 14.8 ± 8.4 weeks) and 53 of 60 (88.3%) following THA (at mean 13.6 ± 7.5 weeks). Failure to RTW despite intent was associated with job physicality for TKA (P = .004) and negative preoperative EQ-5D for THA (P = .01). In patients unable to work before surgery due to joint disease, fewer RTW: 4 of 21 (19.0%) after TKA; and 6 of 17 (35.3%) after THA. Preoperative Oxford knee score >18.5 predicted RTW with 74% sensitivity (P < .001); preoperative Oxford hip score >19.5 predicted RTW with 75% sensitivity (P < .001). Preoperative EQ-5D indices were similarly predictive (P < .001). Conclusions In this United Kingdom study, preoperative intent to RTW was the most powerful predictor of actual RTW following TKA/THA. Where patients intend to RTW following TKA/THA, 85% RTW following TKA and 88% following THA.
Source: Al-Hourani K, MacDonald DJ, Turnbull GS, Breusch SJ, Scott CEH, The Journal of arthroplasty, 2020 Aug.
Purpose Chronic physical conditions often negatively affect work participation. The objective of this systematic review is to investigate the effectiveness and characteristics of vocational rehabilitation interventions for people with a chronic physical condition. Methods Searches in five databases up to April 2020 identified 30 studies meeting our inclusion criteria. Two reviewers independently assessed and extracted data. The Grading of Recommendation, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) framework was used to evaluate quality of evidence for three outcome measures related to work participation. Results All vocational rehabilitation interventions consisted of multiple components, but their characteristics varied widely. Analysis of 22 trials yielded a moderate positive effect with moderate certainty of interventions on work status; analysis of five trials with low risk of bias showed a large positive effect with moderate certainty (risk ratio 1.33 and 1.57, respectively). In addition, in eight studies we found a moderate to small positive effect with low certainty on work attitude (standardized mean difference = 0.59 or 0.38, respectively). We found no effect on work productivity in nine studies. Conclusions The systematic review of the literature showed positive effects of vocational rehabilitation interventions on work status and on work attitude; we found no effect on work productivity. Implications for rehabilitation In rehabilitation, addressing work participation of persons with a chronic physical condition using targeted interventions is beneficial to improve or sustain work participation, irrespective of the intervention characteristics and diagnosis. Interventions that include multiple components and offer individual support, whether or not combined with group sessions, are likely to be more effective in improving work participation in persons with a chronic physical condition. The overview of vocational interventions in this systematic review may assist healthcare professionals in making informed decisions as to which intervention to provide. Vocational rehabilitation, as well as studies on work participation in chronic disease, should include a long follow-up period to explore if work participation is sustainable and contributes to health and wellbeing.
Source: Verhoef JAC, Bal MI, Roelofs PDDM, Borghouts JAJ, Roebroeck ME, Miedema HS, Disability and rehabilitation, p.1-16, 2020 Jul.
Purpose Supervisors play an important role during the return to work (RTW) of injured workers. Yet little research has been done on the actions associated with this role or the contexts in which they are taken. The purpose of this study was to develop courses of action to promote supervisors' involvement in the process aimed at achieving sustainable RTW for workers following a work-related musculoskeletal disorder (MSD), and to verify their pertinence, feasibility, and applicability in practice. Methods A two-phase qualitative method was used. (1) Secondary content analysis of 46 interviews of 14 workers post-MSD and 32 other actors in the RTW process, conducted during a prior case study, yielded proposals for courses of action composed of specific actions for supervisors. (2) The pertinence, feasibility, and applicability of these courses of action and specific actions were explored, first, through a self-administered questionnaire to initiate individual reflection, and later in greater depth through focus groups to identify the different contexts in which they might be applicable. Thematic analysis was performed for each phase. Results Eight proposed courses of action, including specific concrete actions and conditions influencing supervisors' involvement, were developed by the researchers and generally perceived as pertinent and feasible by the participants. Several aspects of the organizational context appeared to influence implementation of these courses of action within the organizations. Conclusion Organizational context appears to influence the application of these courses of action, as do the conditions under which they are implemented.
Source: Nastasia I, Coutu MF, Rives R, Dubé J, Gaspard S, Quilicot A, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2020 Jul.
Purpose To explore the usefulness and feasibility of a comprehensive vocational rehabilitation (C-VR) program and less comprehensive (LC-VR) program for workers on sick leave due to chronic musculoskeletal pain, from the perspective of patients, professionals, and managers. Methods Semi-structured interviews were held with patients, professionals, and managers. Using topic lists, participants were questioned about barriers to and facilitators of the usefulness and feasibility of C-VR and LC-VR. Thirty interviews were conducted with thirteen patients ( n = 6 C-VR, n = 7 LC-VR), eight professionals, and nine managers. All interviews were transcribed verbatim. Data were analyzed by systematic text condensation using inductive thematic analysis. Results Three themes emerged for usefulness ("patient factors," "content," "dosage") and six themes emerged for feasibility ("satisfaction," "intention to continue use," "perceived appropriateness," "positive/negative effects on target participants," "factors affecting implementation ease or difficulty," "adaptations"). The patients reported that both programs were feasible and generally useful. The professionals preferred working with the C-VR, although they disliked the fixed and uniform character of the program. They also mentioned that this program is too extensive for some patients, and that the latter would probably benefit from the LC-VR program. Despite their positive intentions, the managers stated that due to the Dutch healthcare system, implementation of the LC-VR program would be financially unfeasible. Conclusions The main conclusion of this study is that it is not useful to have one VR program for all patients with CMP and reduced work participation, and that flexible and tailored-based VR are warranted. Implications for rehabilitation Both comprehensive and less comprehensive vocational rehabilitation are deemed useful for patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain and reduced work participation. Particular patient factors, for instance information uptake, discipline, willingness to change, duration of complaints, movement anxiety, obstructing thoughts, and willingness to return to work might guide the right program for the right patient. Both comprehensive and less comprehensive vocational rehabilitation are deemed feasible in practice. However, factors such as center logistic (schemes, rooms, professionals available) and country-specific healthcare insurance and sickness compensation systems should foster the implementation of less comprehensive programs.
Source: Beemster TT, van Velzen JM, van Bennekom CAM, Reneman MF, Frings-Dresen MHW, Disability and rehabilitation, 2020 Jun.
Purpose Chronic pain (CP) remains the second commonest reason for being off work. Tertiary return to work (RTW) interventions aim to improve psychological and physical capacity amongst workers already off sick. Their effectiveness for workers with CP is unclear. Aims To explore which tertiary interventions effectively promote RTW for CP sufferers. Methods We searched eight databases for randomized controlled trials evaluating the effectiveness of tertiary RTW interventions for CP sufferers. We employed the Cochrane Risk of Bias (ROB) and methodological quality assessment tools for all included papers. We synthesized findings narratively. Meta-analysis was not possible due to heterogeneity of study characteristics. Results We included 16 papers pertaining to 13 trials. The types, delivery format and follow-up schedules of RTW interventions varied greatly. Most treatments were multidisciplinary, comprising psychological, physical and workplace elements. Five trials reported that tertiary interventions with multidisciplinary elements promoted RTW for workers with CP compared to controls. We gave a high ROB rating for one or more assessment criteria to three out of the five successful intervention trials. Two had medium- and low-risk elements across all categories. One compared different intensity multidisciplinary treatment and one comprised work-hardening with a job coach. Seven trials found treatment effects for secondary outcomes but no RTW improvement. Conclusions There is no conclusive evidence to support any specific tertiary RTW intervention for workers with CP, but multidisciplinary efforts should be considered. Workers' compensation is an important area for RTW policymakers to consider.
Source: Wegrzynek PA, Wainwright E, Ravalier J, Occupational medicine, 2020 May.
Purpose To examine whether the performance-based work-related functional capacity evaluation (German title: Einschätzung körperlicher Leistungsfähigkeiten bei arbeitsbezogenen Aktivitäten—ELA) can predict return to work (RTW) in patients with musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). Methods A multicenter cohort study was conducted on 162 employed or self-employed patients with various injury-related and chronic MSD, recruited from four outpatient rehabilitation clinics. Patient-reported data on health and work ability were collected at discharge. The FCE test was performed subsequently. The overall FCE-based estimation of the ability to cope with the physical demands of work (positive vs. negative) was used to predict RTW. Successful RTW was defined as a combination of (self-)employment at the 3-month follow-up and a low level of sick leave (< 1.5 weeks) due to MSD. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using logistic regression models to evaluate the predictive validity of the adjusted FCE results. Results Based on the FCE test, 82% of the patients were estimated as being able to cope with the physical demands of work. 77% of the patients with a positive FCE outcome returned to work (positive predictive value) and 83% with a negative FCE outcome did not (negative predictive value). Patients whose functional capacity was estimated to match the job demands were associated with sixfold higher odds of returning to work after adjusting for patient-reported data on health and work ability. The agreement between the FCE result and RTW differed only on a low to moderate level between the therapists who administered the FCE (72–89%). Conclusions The FCE test at discharge predicts RTW among patients with musculoskeletal disorders.
Source: Bühne D, Alles T, Hetzel C, Streibelt M, Froböse, I, Bethge M, International Archives of Occupational & Environmental Health, Vol. 93 (5), p.635-643, 2020 Jul.
Purpose There are increasing numbers of total hip replacements (THR) and total knee replacements (TKR) being performed in patients of working age. Providing patients undergoing TKR and THR with return to work advice might facilitate return to work. The aim of this paper is to report on the process used to systematically develop an occupational advice intervention to be delivered in hospital for those undergoing arthroplasty. Methods The six-step Intervention Mapping (IM) approach to development, implementation and evaluation of a theory and evidence-based interventions was followed. This paper reports on the development of the intervention covered by steps 1 to 4 of the IM process. Steps 1-3 gathered data on current practice and barriers to change using a mixed methods approach (cohort study of patients undergoing THR or TKR, stakeholder interviews, survey of practice, evidence synthesis) and provided a theoretical framework for intervention development. Step 4 used information from steps 1-3 in combination with a Delphi consensus process to develop the intervention and the associated tools and materials to facilitate its delivery. Results The final intervention identified included a number of core principles including: early patient identification; delivery of key information to patients and their employers; assessment and support by a member of the orthopaedic team; procedures for escalation based on patient need; mechanisms to support communication; and training and support for the clinical teams delivering care. A total of 13 patient and 20 staff performance objectives as delivery requirements, were supported by a range of tools, roles and training resources. The intervention addressed outcomes based at the individual and interpersonal levels of the ecological model. Conclusions Following the IM approach resulted in a structured and justified occupational intervention for delivery in secondary care for patients undergoing total hip and knee replacement. The feasibility of the intervention will subsequently be tested alongside further investigation to establish its effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
Source: Coole C, Baker P, McDaid C, Drummond A, BMC Health Services Research, Vol. 20 (1), p.1-12, 2020 Jun.
Purpose To study the longitudinal relationship between interdisciplinary vocational rehabilitation (VR) with and without additional work module on work participation of patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain and sick leave from work. Methods Retrospective longitudinal data retrieved from care as usual in seven VR centers in the Netherlands was used. The VR program without work module consisted of multi-component healthcare (physical exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, education, relaxation). The other program with additional work module (VR+) included case management and a workplace visit. Generalized estimating equations using binary logistic was applied. The dependent variable was work participation (achieved/not achieved) on discharge and 6-months follow-up. Independent variables were type of intervention, return to work expectation, sick leave duration, working status, job strain, and job dissatisfaction. Results Data from N = 470 patients were analyzed, of which 26% received VR and 74% VR+. Both programs increased work participation at 6-months follow-up (VR 86%, VR+ 87%). The crude model showed a significant longitudinal relationship between type of intervention and work participation in favor of VR+ (OR 1.8, p = 0.01). The final model showed a non-significant relationship on discharge (OR 1.3, p = 0.51) and a significant relationship on 6-months follow-up in favor of VR+ (OR 1.7, p = 0.04). RTW expectation was a significant confounder in the final model on discharge and 6-months follow up (OR 3.1, p = 0.00). Conclusions Both programs led to increased work participation. The addition of a work module to the VR program lead to a significant increase in odds of work participation at 6-months follow-up.
Source: Beemster TT, van Bennekom CAM, van Velzen JM, Frings-Dresen MHW, Reneman MF, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2020 May.
Purpose There is limited knowledge about motivational interviewing (MI) for people on sick leave with musculoskeletal disorders. Hence, our objective was to investigate what research on MI as a method to facilitate return to work for individuals who are on sick leave due to musculoskeletal disorders exists, and what are the results of the research? Methods We systematically searched MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, Web of Science, Sociological Abstracts, Epistemonikos, SveMed + and DARE & HTA (covering 1983 to August 2019). We also searched the MINT bulletin and relevant web pages. Eligibility criteria: empirical studies investigating MI and return to work for people with musculoskeletal disorders. Two authors independently screened the records, critically appraised the studies and charted the data using a data extraction form. Results The searches identified 1264 records of which two studies were included. One randomized controlled trial (RCT) found no effect of MI on return to work for disability pensioner with back pain (n = 89, high risk of bias), while a cluster RCT found that MI increased return to work for claimants with chronic musculoskeletal disorders (n = 728, low risk of bias). Conclusions This mapping review identified a huge gap in research on MI to increase return to work for individuals with musculoskeletal disorders.
Source: Aanesen F, Berg R, Løchting I, Tingulstad A, Eik H, Storheim K, Grotle M, Øiestad BE, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2020 Apr.
Purpose Little is known about the information and advice on return to work received by patients undergoing total hip and knee replacement. Aims To investigate patients' views and experiences of work-related advice provided by clinicians, and how this might be improved. Methods Semi-structured interviews with patients who had undergone total hip and knee replacement, were working prior to surgery and intended to return to work. Data were analysed thematically. Results Forty-five patients from three UK regions were consented. Eight themes were identified including lack of information, lack of an individualized approach and accessibility and acceptability of information dissemination methods. Patients identified their information needs and who they felt was best placed to address them. Conclusions Patients receive little information and advice on return to work following total hip and knee replacement, although not all patients required this. However, more focus is needed on providing this, and patients should be screened to ensure resources are best targeted with interventions being tailored to the individual.
Source: Nouri F, Coole C, Baker P, Drummond A, Occupational Medicine, 2020 Feb.
Purpose To evaluate whether a protocol for early intervention addressing the psychosocial risk factors for delayed return to work in workers with soft tissue injuries would achieve better long-term outcomes than usual (stepped) care. Methods The study used a controlled, non-randomised prospective design to compare two case management approaches. For the intervention condition, workers screened within 1–3 weeks of injury as being at high risk of delayed returned to work by the Örebro Musculoskeletal Pain Screening Questionnaire—short version (ÖMPSQ-SF) were offered psychological assessment and a comprehensive protocol to address the identified obstacles for return to work. Similarly identified injured workers in the control condition were managed under usual (stepped) care arrangements. Results At 2-year follow-up, the mean lost work days for the Intervention group was less than half that of the usual care group, their claim costs were 30% lower, as was the growth trajectory of their costs after 11 months. Conclusions The findings supported the hypothesis that brief psychological risk factor screening, combined with a protocol for active collaboration between key stakeholders to address identified psychological and workplace factors for delayed return to work, can achieve better return on investment than usual (stepped) care.
Source: Nicholas MK, Costa DS, Linton SJ, Main CJ, Shaw WS, Pearce G, Gleeson M, Pinto RZ, Blyth FM, McAuley JH, Smeets RJEM, McGarity A, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, Vol. 30(1), p.93-104, 2020 Mar.
Purpose This study investigates the injury, socio-demographic, workplace, and temporal characteristics related with gradual return to work (RTW) among workers with a work-acquired musculoskeletal disorder in British Columbia, Canada, Methods Accepted workers' compensation lost-time claims were extracted between 2010 and 2015 (n = 141,490). A multivariable logistic regression model was used to analyze the determinants of Gradual RTW. Results Within 1 year after injury, 41.0% of workers had at least 1 day of Gradual RTW. Serious injury severity, female sex, increasing age, wage, and firm size, longer sickness absence, and recent previous claims increased the proportion of workers being provided with Gradual RTW. Conclusions Consideration of injury, socio-demographic, workplace, and temporal variability in the provision of Gradual RTW can identify inequalities in the provision and increase effective use of Gradual RTW for workers with musculoskeletal disorders.
Source: Maas ET, Koehoorn M, McLeod CB, Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine, Vol. 62 (2), p.113-123, Feb 2020.
Purpose Adolescents with chronic musculoskeletal pain face different impairments in daily life. After an inpatient pain rehabilitation program adolescents function better on several domains. The aim of this study is to explore the long-term work participation of adults who followed inpatient pain rehabilitation during adolescence because of chronic musculoskeletal pain and to identify potential facilitators and barriers regarding work in later life. Methods A mixed methods study with standardized questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The questionnaires measured pain, disability, work status and quality and quantity of the work. The interviews contained questions about work participation. Potential participants were all patients who received an inpatient pain rehabilitation program 15-20 years ago. Analyses were performed by thematic analysis. Using the Sherbrooke model as guidance, themes were classified in four systems: healthcare, workplace, legislative/insurance and personal system. Results Fourteen patients consented to participate (12 females). 71% Of them have paid work. The mean self-reported quality of the work delivered is 9.6 (Standard Deviation=0.5). 18 Facilitators and 12 barriers regarding work participation later on in life were mentioned. The inpatient pain rehabilitation program is the most frequently mentioned facilitator (n=5), while the personal system and coping related factors are the most frequently mentioned barriers (n=5). Conclusions Ten out of 14 participants are currently working, most of them despite experiencing pain. Several factors based on the four systems of the Sherbrooke model contribute as facilitators or barriers regarding current work participation. Pain rehabilitation is mostly regarded as a facilitator for work participation later on in life.
Source : Achten D, de Blécourt ACE, Westendorp T, Herweijer H, Reneman MF, Pain Practice: the Official Journal of World Institute of Pain, 2020 Feb.