2010-08-01 12:00 - Messages

Economic evaluation of a workplace intervention for sick-listed employees with distress

Objectives To evaluate the cost effectiveness, cost utility and cost benefit of a workplace intervention compared with usual care for sick-listed employees with distress. Methods An economic evaluation was conducted alongside a randomised controlled trial. Employees with distress and who were sick-listed for 2–8 weeks were randomised to a workplace intervention (n=73) or to usual care (n=72). The workplace intervention is a stepwise process involving the sick-listed employee and their supervisor, aimed at formulating a consensus-based plan for return to work (RTW). The effect outcomes were lasting RTW and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Healthcare utilisation was measured over 12 months. Cost effectiveness analyses (CEA) and cost utility analyses (CUA) were conducted from the societal perspective and cost benefit analyses (CBA) from the employer perspective. Bootstrapping techniques were used to estimate cost and effect differences, related CIs, and cost effectiveness and cost utility ratios. Cost effectiveness planes were presented and subgroup analyses were performed. Results CEA and CUA revealed no statistically significant differences in lasting RTW, QALYs or costs. The CBA indicated a statistically significant higher cost of occupational health services in the workplace intervention group. The workplace intervention was not cost effective according to the CEA, CUA and CBA. Conclusions Widespread implementation of the workplace intervention for sick-listed employees with distress is not recommended because there was no economic benefit compared with usual care. Future trials should confirm if the workplace intervention is cost effective for the subgroup employees who intended to return to work despite symptoms.

A workplace intervention for sick-listed employees with distress: results of a randomised controlled trial

Objectives To evaluate the effectiveness of a participatory workplace intervention compared with usual care for sick-listed employees with distress, with regard to return to work (RTW) within the 12-month follow-up. Methods Employees with distress and sick-listed for 2–8 weeks were randomised to a workplace intervention (n=73) or to usual care (n=72). The participatory workplace intervention is a stepwise process involving the sick-listed employee and their supervisor, aimed at reducing obstacles for RTW by reaching consensus about an action plan for RTW. Outcome variables were lasting RTW, cumulative sickness absence and stress-related symptoms. Results Overall, an HR of 0.99 (95% CI 0.70 to 1.39) indicated no effect of the workplace intervention on lasting RTW. However, the workplace intervention significantly reduced the time until lasting RTW for employees who at baseline intended to return to work despite symptoms with an HR of 2.05 (95% CI 1.22 to 3.45). Employees who intended to return to work despite symptoms returned to work after 55 days in the workplace intervention group and 120 days in the usual care group. No such effect of the intervention was found for employees without baseline intentions to return to work despite symptoms (HR=0.78, 95% CI 0.47 to 1.28). Conclusions No overall effect of the participatory workplace intervention on lasting RTW was found. The workplace intervention appeared effective on lasting RTW for employees who at baseline intended to return to work despite symptoms. For employees who showed no baseline intention to return to work, the intervention did not have any effect. Other approaches are needed for this subgroup.

Source: http://oem.bmj.com/content/67/9/596.abstract

Return-to-work interventions integrated into cancer care: a systematic review

Objectives The purpose of this study was to review the literature on the content of interventions focusing on return to work, employment status, or work retention in patients with cancer. Furthermore, the effect of the interventions on return to work was assessed in studies reporting return to work. Methods A literature search was conducted using the databases MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE and CINAHL. Articles that described a work-directed intervention focusing on return to work, employment status, or work retention in patients with cancer were included. The content of the work-directed part of the interventions was assessed based on two criteria for content analysis: 1. does the setting fit the shared care model of cancer survivor care? 2. Does the intervention target work ability and physical workload? For studies reporting return-to-work outcomes, the return-to-work rates were assessed. For studies that used a control group the ORs and the 95% CIs were calculated. Results Twenty-three articles describing 19 interventions met the inclusion criteria. Seven studies reported return-to-work outcomes of which four used a control group. Only three interventions aimed primarily at enhancing return to work or employment status. The most frequently reported work-directed components were encouragement, education or advice about work or work-related subjects (68%), vocational or occupational training (21%), or work accommodations (11%). One intervention fit the shared care model of cancer survivor care and five interventions enhanced work ability or decreased physical workload. The rate of return to work ranged from 37% to 89%. In one of the four controlled studies the intervention increased return to work significantly and in the other studies the results were insignificant. Conclusions Only few interventions are primarily aimed at enhancing return to work in patients with cancer and most do not fit the shared care model involving integrated cancer care. Future studies should be developed with well-structured work-directed components that should be evaluated in randomised controlled trials.

Source: http://oem.bmj.com/content/67/9/639.abstract

Musculoskeletal pain and treatment choice: an exploration of illness perceptions and choices of conventional or complementary therapies

This study explored experiences of receiving treatment for musculoskeletal pain (MSKP), particularly choices of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and/or conventional treatment, using the illness perception dimension of Leventhal's Self-Regulatory Model as the underpinning model within the broader biopsychosocial framework of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Method.A mixed-method study was conducted involving 17 people with MSKP. Data were collected in semi-structured interviews, using a phased approach that included the Brief Illness Perception Questionnaire and open-ended questions about experiences of managing and seeking treatment for MSKP. Questionnaire data were analysed descriptively; interview data were transcribed verbatim and analysed using the principles of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Results.Analysis points to health professionals and participants as gatekeepers to treatment, with gatekeeping based on matters of power, searching for solutions, and managing day to day. The themes Role of the Gatekeeper, Swing of the Interminable Pendulum, and Solution of Soldiering On are discussed in relation to literature about health beliefs and choices of CAM or conventional treatments. Conclusions.Future research could include mixed-method designs to further explore issues of knowledge, beliefs, and control that feed into the role of gatekeepers to treatment, as well as comparing CAM choices between public and privately-funded healthcare.

Source: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638281003649896

Seeking a balance between employment and the care of an ageing parent

A growing number of middle-aged people are engaged in informal care of their parents while employed. To provide support as employers, co-workers or staff, health care professionals need insight into the experiences of people managing these responsibilities. Aim:  To elucidate the experience of providing informal care to an ageing parent while managing the responsibilities of a working life. Methods:  Narrative interviews were performed with 11 persons with experience of the phenomenon. Transcribed interviews were analysed with phenomenological hermeneutics. Ethics:  Informed consent was given prior to the interviews. The study was approved by a research ethics committee. Findings:  Providing informal care to an ageing parent while also pursuing a working life implies seeking balance: a balance between providing support to the parent's needs and one's responsibilities at work. Being employed supports this balance as it provides both fulfilment and refuge. Being capable of managing both roles grants a sense of satisfaction, supporting one's sense of balance in life. The balance can be supported by sharing the responsibility of caring for the ageing parent with others. Study limitations:  Despite perceived saturation and an effort to provide for the possibility to consider internal consistency, the findings should be considered as a contribution to the understanding of the phenomenon, as experienced by individuals in their life world. Conclusions:  It is essential to recognise the impact that providing care for an ageing parent may have on the lives of a growing number of people, particularly if they have employment responsibilities. Acknowledgement by others supports one's ability to attain balance; as co-workers and managers, we can acknowledge the efforts of an informal caregiver and as health care staff recognise the valuable contribution made by people in mid-life who provide informal care for their ageing parents.

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-6712.2010.00824.x/abstract;jsessionid=E18A1F6D13285339160E552A63DA5758.d03t01

Determining work outcomes in mild to moderate stroke survivors

Objective: To assess the work outcomes of individuals who have a mild to moderate stroke. Participants: Individuals who (1) experienced a mild to moderate stroke as determined by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) scores (range 0–16); (2) were working full time prior to their stroke; and (3) were between the ages of 30–65. Methods: Participants were contacted and provided verbal consent to complete the Occupational Outcome Questionnaire (OOQ) over the telephone at 6 months post-stroke to determine their work outcomes. Results: Of the 98 participants recruited for this study, 37% (n = 36) never returned to work following stroke. Of the 63% (n=62) who did return to work, 90% (n =56) returned immediately to their previous jobs at their previous level. Of those returning to work, 56% (n= 35) of individuals reported performing at 75% of their ability or less. Further, the majority of all participants reported chronic symptoms from their strokes. Conclusions: The current assumption in the literature is that individuals experiencing mild to moderate strokes are returning to work even in the absence of work rehabilitation services. The assumptions of previous literature can be disputed with the results of the current study.

Source: http://iospress.metapress.com/content/u86u9317v5645n35/?p=bfd2a87d6eed4a9a8346acfba072cbf2&pi=9

Return to work after acquired brain injury: Facilitators and hindrances observed in a sub-acute rehabilitation setting

Objectives: There is great variability in the rate of return to work for persons who have suffered from brain injury. The aims of this study was: 1) to describe employment status of persons with stroke or traumatic brain injury, one year after the incident and 2) to investigate the impact of injury/stroke severity, length of stay, the ability to perform activities of daily living and cognitive function on return to work. Participants and Methods: Information was collected from 72 persons; 48 with a diagnosis of stroke and 24 with a traumatic brain injury. All patients had attended to a Rehabilitation Centre with inpatient and outpatient facilities. Data of the above mentioned variables was gathered retrospectively and information about employment status was retrieved from the medical records. Results: After one year, 13 persons (≈ 18%), 5 with a stroke and 8 with a traumatic brain injury (one with mild brain injury, 9 with moderate and 3 persons with severe injuries) had returned to work. They had significantly shorter length of stay at the rehabilitation hospital and were younger than those that did not return to work. Somewhat better results at the neuropsychological screening were seen among those that returned to work, although with a significant difference only in the subscale assessing affect. Some persons with severe injury returned to work, while a majority of those with mild brain injury did not. Conclusion: Traumatic brain injury, younger age and less need of rehabilitation were associated with a higher rate of returning to work. Patients with stroke were older and seem to need more support in order to be successful in work return. It is of importance to reach primary rehabilitation goals, such as being ADL independent, as this was also favourable for work return. The impact of injury severity seemed complex and should to be further explored. Persons with mild brain injury should be followed-up with respect to work return. An important cognitive factor was ability to perceive and express affective responses, reflecting the need of social skills in today's work-life.

Source: http://iospress.metapress.com/content/11j3x35830124277/?p=bfd2a87d6eed4a9a8346acfba072cbf2&pi=8

Workplace Characteristics, Depression, and Health-Related Presenteeism in a General Population Sample

Objectives: To investigate the relationships between workplace psychosocial factors, work/family conflicts, depression, and health-related presenteeism in a sample of employees who were randomly selected from the communities. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 4032 employees representative of the working population aged 25 to 64 years in Alberta, Canada. Data about workplace characteristics, depression, and health-related presenteeism were collected through telephone. Results: In the participants, 47.3% and 42.9% reported some degree of impaired job performance in completing work and avoiding distraction, respectively. Major depression is the strongest factor associated with avoiding distraction. Job strain and effort-reward imbalance seemed to affect job performance through severity of depression but not major depression. Conclusions: Negative work environment may directly and indirectly affect job performance. Workplace health promotion activities should target organizational factors such as job strain and effort-reward imbalance and work/family conflicts so as to reduce the risk of depression and the direct and indirect effects of these risk factors and depression on productivity.

Source: http://journals.lww.com/joem/Abstract/2010/08000/Workplace_Characteristics,_Depression,_and.10.aspx

Sensitivity to change of the Neck Pain and Disability Scale

The Neck Pain and Disability Scale (NPAD) is a 20-item instrument to measure neck pain and related disability. The aim of this study was to assess sensitivity to change of the NPAD. A total of 411 participants from 15 general practices in the middle of Germany completed a multidimensional questionnaire including the German version of the NPAD and self-reported demographic and clinical information. Sensitivity to change was analysed by linear regression analysis of the NPAD at follow-up and educational level, age class, depression, anxiety, and deficits in social support, respectively, and by Pearson's correlation analyses between mean change in NPAD at follow-up and mean change in prognostic markers. Those having more than basic education (regression coefficient −7.2, p < 0.001) and/or being in a younger age class (−2.9, p = 0.020) consistently reported significantly lower average NPAD scores at follow-up compared to those with basic education and/or a older age class. In contrast, those who were classified to be depressed (regression coefficient 2.1, p < 0.001), anxious (1.9, p < 0.001), or having deficits in social support (5.5, p = 0.004) reported significantly higher NPAD scores. Change in depression, anxiety, and social support scale between baseline and follow-up was significantly correlated with change in the NPAD score. Hence, these data are in the direction anticipated across all baseline factors investigated. In conclusion, the NPAD seems to be a sensitive measure for use in clinical practice and future studies of neck pain and related disability.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/y27v158123h32448/

Racial and ethnic disparities in functional, psychosocial, and neurobehavioral outcomes after brain injury

Because of the growing minority population in the past 3 decades in the United States and the increasing numbers of individuals who sustain a traumatic brain injury (TBI), researchers and clinicians have started to pay more attention to the role of race and ethnicity in outcomes after TBI, with the goal of better serving this population. The aim of this article is to review the literature on the influence of race/ethnicity on functional, psychosocial, and neurobehavioral outcomes after TBI. Specifically, the following 8 areas of outcomes will be examined: (1) treatment outcomes, (2) neuropsychological outcomes, (3) employment/productivity, (4) functional outcomes, (5) community integration, (6) marital status, (7) quality of life/life satisfaction, and (8) emotional/neurobehavioral outcomes. To conclude this review, suggestions for improvements in professional competency, research, systems of care, and training are proposed.

Source: http://journals.lww.com/headtraumarehab/Abstract/2010/03000/Racial_and_Ethnic_Disparities_in_Functional,.8.aspx

Focus on health, motivation, and pride: A discussion of three theoretical perspectives on the rehabilitation of sick-listed people

Objective/Method: During the last decades sickness absence from work has become a great societal problem. Questions of how rehabilitation processes should become successful and how peoples' ability to work can be improved have become of great public interest. In this paper we discuss three well-known theoretical perspectives regarding their usefulness when it comes to research on rehabilitation for return to work. Results: The three perspectives are: Antonovsky's salutogenic model of health, Kielhofner's model of human occupation and Scheff's sociological theory of "shame and pride". Conclusions: Each of these can be applied to increase understanding and knowledge concerning sickness absence and return to work. We discuss points of affinity among the three perspectives, as well as significant differences, and we propose that a very essential common denominator is the importance of self-experience.

Source: http://iospress.metapress.com/content/b022627676621341/?p=dc026e838c5e44609d348b4af04ab166&pi=2

A Comparison of Workers' Compensation Patients and Non-Workers' Compensation Patients Undergoing Endoscopic Carpal Tunnel Release
This study compares results of endoscopic carpal tunnel release using the two-portal technique in two groups of patients based on whether or not they were receiving workers' compensation. There were 50 patients in the worker's compensation group and 63 in the nonworker's compensation group. Mean follow-up was 40.8 months and 44.8 months, respectively. Duration of symptoms before surgery was statistically different in the two groups, 13.6 months in the worker's compensation groups compared to 26.2 months in the nonworker's compensation group. Worker's compensation patients tended to be younger, have shorter duration of symptoms before surgery, report lower postoperative activity levels, have more subsequent surgeries, and have mediocre results when compared to nonworker's compensation patients. There was no statistically significant difference in the rate or timing of return to work. Our series of 113 patients who had endoscopic carpal tunnel release indicates that careful patient selection is necessary to achieve satisfactory outcomes in worker's compensation patients.

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