Purpose We aimed to identify job accommodations that help persons with physical disabilities maintain or return to work and explore the barriers and facilitators that influence the provision and reception of job accommodations. Methods We conducted a systematic review using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The review was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42019129645). The search strategy incorporated keywords describing physical disabilities, employer-approved job accommodations, and employment retention or return to work approaches. We searched MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and ProQuest Theses and dissertations. Reviewers independently selected studies for inclusion. We used Hawker et al.'s method to assess study quality. Results We identified 2203 articles, of which 52 met inclusion criteria, developed a table of job accommodations commonly used by persons with physical disabilities, summarized the percentages of job accommodations used by persons with disabilities, synthesized evidence of the effectiveness of job accommodations, and identified the factors that influence job accommodation use. The most frequently reported accommodations were as follows: modification of job responsibilities, change of workplace policy, supportive personnel provision, flexible scheduling, and assistive technology. We summarized four types of facilitators and barriers that affect job accommodation use: employee-related factors, accommodation-related factors, job-related factors, and social workplace-related factors. Conclusion The absence of randomized controlled trials and prevalence of cross-sectional surveys provides inconclusive evidence regarding the effectiveness of specific job accommodations for people with particular functional limitations. Our system of categorizing job accommodations provides a guide to investigators seeking to evaluate the effectiveness of job accommodations using experimental methods.
Source: Wong J, Kallish N, Crown D, Capraro P, Trierweiler R, Wafford QE, Tiema-Benson L, Hassan S, Engel E, Tamayo C, Heinemann AW, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2021 Jan 22
Purpose The objective of this study was to investigate the association between cognitive and emotional functioning and the number of days on health-related benefits such as sick leave, work assessment allowance and disability pension. We investigated whether cognitive and emotional functioning at the start of rehabilitation and the change from the start to the end of rehabilitation predicted the number of days on health-related benefits in the year after occupational rehabilitation. Methods A sample of 317 individuals (age 19-67 years), mainly diagnosed with a musculoskeletal or mental and behavioural ICD-10 disorder, participated. The sample was stratified depending on the benefit status in the year before rehabilitation. Those receiving health-related benefits for the full year comprised the work assessment allowance and disability pension (WAA) group and those receiving benefits for less than a year comprised the sick leave (SL) group. The participants were administered cognitive and emotional computerised tests and work and health questionnaires at the beginning and end of rehabilitation. The cumulative number of days on health-related benefits during 12 months after rehabilitation was the primary outcome variable and age, gender, educational level, subjective health complaints, anxiety, and depression were controlled for in multiple regression analyses. Results The WAA group (n = 179) was significantly impaired at baseline compared to the SL group (n = 135) in focused attention and executive function, and they also scored worse on work and health related variables. Higher baseline scores and change scores from the start to the end of rehabilitation, for sustained attention, were associated with fewer number of health-related benefit days in the WAA group, while higher baseline scores for working memory were associated with fewer number of health-related benefit days in the SL group. Conclusions New knowledge about attention and memory and return to work in individuals with different benefit status may pave the way for more targeted programme interventions. Rehabilitation programmes could benefit from designing interventions that respectively improve sustain attention and working memory related to working life in individuals on sick leave or work assessment allowance and disability pension.
Source: Johansen T, Øyeflaten I, Eriksen HR, Lyby PS, Dittrich WH, Holsen I, Jakobsen H, Del Risco Kollerud R, Jensen C, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2021 Jan 20.
Purpose This study aimed to develop a questionnaire measuring preventive behaviors at work.Methods A three-step design, including qualitative and quantitative methods, was followed: (1) item generation, (2) experts' validation of content, and (3) pretesting.Results For step 1, 49 relevant existing scales were reviewed, and a pool of 172 items was generated. Redundant items were deleted (n = 48), and unclear items were reworded (n = 27). For step 2, 14 experts (five occupational therapists, four researchers, and five workers) assessed the representativeness, relevance, and clarity of each item through content validity indices (CVIs). An average overall CVI of 0.97 was obtained, and 87.5% of the experts stated that the questionnaire was comprehensive. During this step, 63 items were deleted, and 35 were modified. For step 3, the tool was pretested in the clinical settings of four dyads (occupational therapist-worker). The thematic analysis of interview content allowed several changes to be made to the questionnaire, including the addition of information and format changes.Conclusions Overall, this three-step study led to the construction of a 61-item French questionnaire entitled the Échelle de fréquence des comportements préventifs au travail [Frequency Scale of Preventive Behaviors at Work]. In rehabilitation settings, this tool could be useful to support professionals in enabling workers to adopt preventive behaviors, thereby fostering a healthy, sustainable return to work after a disability period. However, further metrological property assessment is required. A validating study using a large pool of workers is ongoing.
Source: Lecours A, Beaulieu AA, Poulin V, Nastasia I, St-Hilaire F, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2021 Jan 05
Purpose A sustainable return to work (S-RTW) following prolonged work disability poses different challenges, depending on gender. This article provides a synthesis of gender differences in the issues and factors influencing the S-RTW of workers following such a disability. Methods Using an interpretive description method, an integrative review was conducted of the literature on gender differences in S-RTW issues and factors associated with four major causes of work disability. The initial review concerned the 2000-2016 literature; it was subsequently updated for November 2016-March 2020. To explore and contextualise the results, four focus groups were held with stakeholders representing the workplace, insurance, and healthcare systems and workers. Qualitative thematic analysis was performed. Results A total of 47 articles were reviewed, and 35 stakeholders participated in the focus groups. The prevailing traditional gender roles were found to have a major gender-specific influence on the attitudes, behaviours, processes and outcomes associated with S-RTW. These differences related to the (1) cumulative workload, (2) work engagement, and (3) expressed and addressed needs. Conclusions The results highlight the importance of taking into account both professional and personal aspects when integrating gender issues into the assessment of workers' needs and subsequently into interventions.
Source: Coutu MF, Durand MJ, Coté D, Tremblay D, Sylvain C, Gouin MM, Bilodeau K, Nastasia I, Paquette MA, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2021 Jan 04.
Purpose To assess the effects of adding a workplace intervention to inpatient occupational rehabilitation on return-to-work self-efficacy, and whether changes in return-to-work self-efficacy were associated with future work outcomes. Design Randomized clinical trial. Subjects Individuals aged 1860 years, sick-listed 212 months were randomized to multimodal inpatient rehabilitation with (n?=?88) or without (n?=?87) a workplace intervention. Methods Between-group differences for 4 months follow-up were assessed using linear mixed models. Associations between self-efficacy scores and future sickness absence days during 12 months of follow-up were assessed by linear regression. Results There were no statistically significant between-group differences in self-efficacy during follow-up. Participants with high or medium self-efficacy scores at the end of rehabilitation had fewer sickness absence days during follow-up compared with participants with low scores. Participants with consistently high scores or an increasing score throughout the programme showed fewer sickness absence days than those with reduced or consistently low scores. Conclusion Receiving an added workplace intervention did not increase return-to-work self-efficacy more than standard inpatient occupational rehabilitation alone. High scores and a positive development in return-to-work self-efficacy were associated with higher work participation. This suggests that return-to-work self-efficacy could be an important factor to consider in the return-to-work process.
Source: Skagseth M, Fimland MS, Rise MB, Lund Nilsen TI, Aasdahl L, Journal of rehabilitation medicine, 2021 Jan 04.
Purpose A work disability negotiation takes place between a supervisor, the disabled employee and the occupational health service (OHS) to support the disabled employee in returning to their work, often with temporary work accommodation. The objective of this study was to define the factors of a work disability negotiation with OHS that supported or hindered supervisors in their task/role in work disability management. Methods The study setting comprised two parts: the creation of survey questions and the actual survey of supervisors (N = 254) from six public and private organizations in Finland. Of these, 133 (52%) had participated in one or more work disability negotiations. The responses covered about 240 work disability cases and considerably more negotiations. Results The study identified four key elements that the supervisors expressed as major success factors in the negotiations. First, it was crucial that the supervisors learned about the employee's health restrictions and understood the issues relating to their work disability. Second, the parties should aim for common solutions and conclusions through collaboration. Third, active participation of all the negotiation parties is important. The supervisors gave a high rating to OHS taking their views seriously. Last, the supervisors appreciated collaboration in a constructive atmosphere. Conclusion In order for a negotiation to help supervisors in their challenges, it should reach solutions, conclusions and a restructured comprehension of the work disability problem in a constructive atmosphere and with active communication between stakeholders.
Source: Lappalainen L, Liira J, Lamminpää A, International archives of occupational and environmental health, 2021 Jan 03.
Background GPs are under considerable pressure providing routine care. However, they may not be the most appropriate professionals to manage getting patients back to work, and keeping them there. Purpose To test the feasibility of delivering occupational therapy-led vocational clinics (OTVoc) to provide return to work advice and support for people with musculoskeletal conditions and mental health problems, in primary care. Methods Prospective mixed methods study in two primary care centres (eight GP surgeries). We collected anonymised service level data on all patients receiving OTVoc. Next, patient participants who met inclusion criteria and consented, undertook baseline and 3-month follow-up assessments. Interviews were also conducted to explore stakeholders' views- GPs, Nurse Practitioners, Front Desk Staff, Occupational Therapists, patients and their employers about OTVoc- and included study eligibility, referral, experiences and attitudes to return to work. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. Results The majority of standardized measures showed some improvement over the study period: the sickness absence rate dropped from 71 to 15% and use of GP 'fit' notes reduced from 76 to 6%. Interview data indicated positive attitudes to OTVoc, the use of the fit note and the Allied Health Professions Health and Work Reports (AHP H&WRs). GPs felt that OTVoc reduced their workload. Conclusion Further research is feasible and warranted. OTVoc was positively received and stakeholders believed it was effective in getting patients back to work or preparing for their return. There was enthusiasm for extending service eligibility criteria, suggesting potential for further development and evaluation.
Source: Drummond A, Coole C, Nouri F, Ablewhite J, Smyth G, BMC family practice, 2020 Dec 13; Vol. 21 (1), pp. 268.
Purpose Individual psychosocial factors are crucial in the return to work (RTW) process of workers with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and common mental disorders (CMDs). However, the quality and validity of the questionnaires used to measure these factors have rarely been investigated. The present systematic search and literature review aims at identifying, categorizing, and evaluating the questionnaires (measurement tools) used to measure individual psychosocial factors related to the perception of the personal condition and motivation to RTW that are predictive of successful RTW among workers with MSDs or CMDs. Methods Through a systematic search on PubMed, Web of Science, and PsycINFO library databases and grey literature, we identified the individual psychosocial factors predictive of successful RTW among these workers. Then, we retrieved the questionnaires used to measure these factors. Finally, we searched for articles validating these questionnaires to describe them exhaustively from a psychometric and practical point of view. Results The review included 76 studies from an initial pool of 2263 articles. Three common significant predictors of RTW after MSDs and CMDs emerged (i.e., RTW expectations, RTW self-efficacy, and work ability), two significant predictors of RTW after MSDs only (i.e., work involvement and the self-perceived connection between health and job), and two significant predictors of RTW after CMDs only (i.e., optimism and pessimism). We analyzed 30 questionnaires, including eight multiple-item scales and 22 single-item measures. Based on their psychometric and practical properties, we evaluated one of the eight multiple-item scales as questionable and five as excellent. Conclusions With some exceptions (i.e., self-efficacy), the tools used to measure individual psychosocial factors show moderate to considerable room for improvement.
Source: Gragnano A, Villotti P, Larivière ,C Negrini A, Corbière M, Journal of occupational rehabilitation, 2020 Dec.