2010-12-01 12:00 - Messages

Examining disability benefits in Canada

Two recent publications provide useful details for discussions around disability benefits in Canada :
- IWH Issue Briefing:
  A patchwork quilt: Income security for Canadians with disabilities
- OECD Report:
  Sickness, Disability and Work: Breaking the Barriers. Canada: Opportunities for Collaboration

Source : http://www.iwh.on.ca/examining-disability-benefits

Les pathologies liées au travail vues par les travailleurs

Parmi les personnes en emploi qui signalent un problème chronique de santé – qu'il soit bénin, sérieux ou grave -, une sur deux estime qu'il est « causé ou aggravé par le travail » d'après les résultats de l'enquête « Santé, Handicap et Travail » de 2007. Ce lien est plus souvent évoqué pour les problèmes psychologiques (« stress, anxiété ») et les douleurs lombaires ou articulaires.
Les problèmes de santé associés au travail apparaissent plus gênants dans la vie courante, et particulièrement dans le travail, que les autres. Près d'un quart des actifs occupés se disent gênés dans leur vie quotidienne par un problème chronique de santé « causé ou aggravé » par leur travail, dont la moitié de façon importante.
Les actifs exposés à des pénibilités physiques ou psychosociales dans leur travail font beaucoup plus souvent un lien entre leurs problèmes de santé et leur travail. La fréquence des pathologies chroniques « causées ou aggravées par le travail » augmente avec le nombre de pénibilités subies dans le travail.

Source : http://www.travail-solidarite.gouv.fr/etudes-recherche-statistiques-de,76/etudes-et-recherche,77/publications-dares,98/dares-analyses-dares-indicateurs,102/2010-080-les-pathologies-liees-au,12779.html

Ethics and the compensation of immigrant workers for work-related injuries and illnesses
Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, Volume 1, Number 5, 707-714

This paper examines the compensation process for work-related injuries and illnesses by assessing the trajectories of a sample of immigrant and non-immigrant workers (n = 104) in Montreal. Workers were interviewed to analyze the complexity associated with the compensation process. Experts specialized in compensation issues assessed the difficulty of the interviewees' compensation process. Immigrant workers faced greater difficulties with medical, legal, and administrative issues than non-immigrants did. While immigrant workers' claim forms tended to be written more often by employers or friends (58% vs. 8%), the claims were still more often contested by employers (64% vs. 24%). Immigrant workers were less likely to obtain a precise diagnosis (64% vs. 42%) and upon returning to work were more likely to face sub-optimal conditions. Such results throw into relief issues of ethics and equity in host societies that are building their economy with migrant workers.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/fn2136g832gp6302/

The meaning of the experiences of persons with chronic pain in their encounters with the health service

Chronic pain causes great suffering for those affected and treating it is one of the most common assignments in the health service. The aim of the study was to investigate the meaning of the experiences of persons with chronic pain in their encounters with health service staff. The study had a descriptive design with a phenomenological approach based on the perspective of caring science. Interviews were carried out with eight patients. The study showed that patients experienced a positive approach and that the staff had understood the serious nature of the situation. A positive approach can communicate hope and help to strengthen the patient. It is important to ask the patient about how he/she experiences his/her situation and thus gain an insight into this person’s lifeworld. Participation entailed being active oneself and calling attention to one’s needs and wishes for treatment. The study also showed that a negative approach by the staff played a prominent part in their experiences and appeared to be engraved in their memories. A negative approach is felt as being insulting and belittling. Patients with chronic pain felt that they were discredited and that their experience of their situation was called into question. They had to fight to get care and had to suggest treatments and examinations. There were also patients who had neither been asked about their pain experience nor had the opportunity to assess their pain with an assessment scale. Some of the phases in Travelbee’s relationship model could be seen in several of the encounters but not all. The participants did not always feel that the manner of the nursing staff was empathetic or sympathetic, which led to greater suffering.

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1471-6712.2010.00847.x/abstract;jsessionid=FEADD0AA2DF7AB9E24C1F6C2ABACA731.d03t01?systemMessage=Due+to+essential+maintenance%2C+access+to+Wiley+Online+Library+will+be+disrupted+on+Sunday%2C+19th+Dec+between+10%3A00-12%3A00+GMT

An updated overview of clinical guidelines for the management of non-specific low back pain in primary care

The aim of this study was to present and compare the content of (inter)national clinical guidelines for the management of low back pain. To rationalise the management of low back pain, evidence-based clinical guidelines have been issued in many countries. Given that the available scientific evidence is the same, irrespective of the country, one would expect these guidelines to include more or less similar recommendations regarding diagnosis and treatment. We updated a previous review that included clinical guidelines published up to and including the year 2000. Guidelines were included that met the following criteria: the target group consisted mainly of primary health care professionals, and the guideline was published in English, German, Finnish, Spanish, Norwegian, or Dutch. Only one guideline per country was included: the one most recently published. This updated review includes national clinical guidelines from 13 countries and 2 international clinical guidelines from Europe published from 2000 until 2008. The content of the guidelines appeared to be quite similar regarding the diagnostic classification (diagnostic triage) and the use of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions. Consistent features for acute low back pain were the early and gradual activation of patients, the discouragement of prescribed bed rest and the recognition of psychosocial factors as risk factors for chronicity. For chronic low back pain, consistent features included supervised exercises, cognitive behavioural therapy and multidisciplinary treatment. However, there are some discrepancies for recommendations regarding spinal manipulation and drug treatment for acute and chronic low back pain. The comparison of international clinical guidelines for the management of low back pain showed that diagnostic and therapeutic recommendations are generally similar. There are also some differences which may be due to a lack of strong evidence regarding these topics or due to differences in local health care systems. The implementation of these clinical guidelines remains a challenge for clinical practice and research.

Source: http://www.spinegateway.net/ArticlePage.aspx?DOI=10.1007/s00586-010-1502-y

(Article disponible en "open access". Voici le PDF en fichier attaché)

Identifying predictors of early non-recovery in a compensation setting: The Whiplash Outcome Study

People with Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) often experience pain and disability for extended periods of time. A large proportion of these people will seek treatment through a compensation process. Rarely is data related to people's health collected within the compensation process making it difficult to identify those that are at risk of delayed recovery and appropriately direct interventions. Study objective: To compare people with WAD who have recovered with those that have not, within 3 months of injury and identify potential predictors of poorer health and non-recovery to inform claim screening processes. Study design: Cross-sectional analysis of a cohort study. Participants: People who sustained a WAD and claimed compensation within an Australian Motor Accidents Compensation Scheme between November 2007 and June 2009. Measure of recovery: Functional Rating Index (FRI) score (≤25). Health outcome measures: Short Form 36 (SF36), FRI, and the Pain Catastrophising Scale (PCS). Methods: 246 people who had lodged a claim for compensation were enrolled in the Whiplash Outcome Study within 3 months of sustaining a WAD injury. Participants were assigned to a recovered or non-recovered group and analysed for differences between the two groups. Multiple linear regression models were used to identify potential predictors of poorer health and non-recovery.Results: Overall 23% of the study population had recovered within 3 months of sustaining a WAD, whilst only 9% had finalised their insurance claim. The recovered group had significantly better scores on all health outcome measures; SF36 Physical Component Score, SF36 Mental Component Score and the PCS (p<0.001). The significant independent predictors of poorer health and non-recovery were helplessness (p<0.001), older age (p<0.001) and pre-injury work status being affected (p<0.001) (r2=.624). Regardless of the health outcome measure used, helplessness was significantly associated with poorer reported health. Conclusion: Including additional information at claim notification, specifically the PCS and information on the effect the injury has on the working population could significantly improve claim screening processes, identifying those with poorer health and risk of non-recovery.

Source: http://www.injuryjournal.com/article/PIIS0020138310005541/abstract?rss=yes

Exploring the meaning of early contact in return-to-work from workplace actors' perspective

The objective of this article was to explore the meaning of early contact in return-to-work, and how social relational actions and conditions can facilitate or impede early contact among actors in the workplace.

Method.An exploratory qualitative method was used, consisting of individual open-ended interviews with 33 workplace actors at seven worksites across three public employers in Sweden. The workplace actors represented in these interviews included re-entering workers, supervisors, co-workers and human resources managers. Organisational policies on return-to-work were collected from the three employers.

Results.The analysis indicated that early contact is a complex return-to-work measure with shifting incentives among workplace actors for making contact. For instance, the findings indicated obligation and responsibilities as incentives, incentives through social relations, and the need to acknowledge and balance the individual needs in relation to early contact.

Conclusion.The findings strengthen the importance of early contact as a concept with a social relational context that comprises more than just an activity carried out (or not) by the employer, and suggest that early contact with a sick-listed worker is not always the best approach for a return-to-work situation. This study provides a starting point for a more articulated conceptualisation of early contact.




Read More: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638288.2010.489630

Purpose.The objective of this article was to explore the meaning of early contact in return-to-work, and how social relational actions and conditions can facilitate or impede early contact among actors in the workplace.

Method.An exploratory qualitative method was used, consisting of individual open-ended interviews with 33 workplace actors at seven worksites across three public employers in Sweden. The workplace actors represented in these interviews included re-entering workers, supervisors, co-workers and human resources managers. Organisational policies on return-to-work were collected from the three employers.

Results.The analysis indicated that early contact is a complex return-to-work measure with shifting incentives among workplace actors for making contact. For instance, the findings indicated obligation and responsibilities as incentives, incentives through social relations, and the need to acknowledge and balance the individual needs in relation to early contact.

Conclusion.The findings strengthen the importance of early contact as a concept with a social relational context that comprises more than just an activity carried out (or not) by the employer, and suggest that early contact with a sick-listed worker is not always the best approach for a return-to-work situation. This study provides a starting point for a more articulated conceptualisation of early contact




Read More: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638288.2010.489630
The objective of this article was to explore the meaning of early contact in return-to-work, and how social relational actions and conditions can facilitate or impede early contact among actors in the workplace.


Read More: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638288.2010.489630

The objective of this article was to explore the meaning of early contact in return-to-work, and how social relational actions and conditions can facilitate or impede early contact among actors in the workplace. Method. An exploratory qualitative method was used, consisting of individual open-ended interviews with 33 workplace actors at seven worksites across three public employers in Sweden. The workplace actors represented in these interviews included re-entering workers, supervisors, co-workers and human resources managers. Organisational policies on return-to-work were collected from the three employers. Results. The analysis indicated that early contact is a complex return-to-work measure with shifting incentives among workplace actors for making contact. For instance, the findings indicated obligation and responsibilities as incentives, incentives through social relations, and the need to acknowledge and balance the individual needs in relation to early contact. Conclusion. The findings strengthen the importance of early contact as a concept with a social relational context that comprises more than just an activity carried out (or not) by the employer, and suggest that early contact with a sick-listed worker is not always the best approach for a return-to-work situation. This study provides a starting point for a more articulated conceptualisation of early contact.

Source: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638288.2010.489630

The impact of the Belgian workers’ compensation system on return to work after rotator cuff surgery

We retrospectively assessed time off work after rotator cuff repair, in relation with the compensation system and the shoulder loading demand at work. The Belgian insurance system distinghuises three main financial compensation systems for time off work. Patients with a work-related accident receive the highest compensation. A second group includes employees suffering a private accident or a chronic rotator cuff tear. Self-employed workers receive the lowest compensation. Work-demand on the shoulder was graded level I to IV according to the Iannotti classification. From a series of 201 young patients who underwent rotator cuff tear surgery, 93 were selected based on specific inclusion criteria ; of these 93 patients, 73 could be thoroughly investigated. We found a significantly longer postoperative time off work in the highest compensation group (7 months versus 2.5 months for the lowest compensation group). We found a significantly longer postoperative time to return to work in the higher stages of the Iannoti classification. Based on the results of this study, the probable postoperative absence from work can be roughly estimated for each patient after rotator cuff surgery in relation with the particular compensation system and particular occupational demand level.

Source: http://www.actaorthopaedica.be/acta/article.asp?lang=en&navid=114&id=14909&mod=Acta

Community occupational therapists' clinical reasoning: Identifying tacit knowledge

Occupational therapy interventions in the community, a fast expanding practice setting, are central to an important social priority, the ability to live at home. These interventions generally involve only a small number of home visits, which aim at maximising the safety and autonomy of community-dwelling clients. Knowing how community occupational therapists determine their interventions, i.e. their clinical reasoning, can improve intervention efficacy. However, occupational therapists are often uninformed about and neglect the importance of clinical reasoning, which could underoptimise their interventions. Aim: To synthesise current knowledge about community occupational therapists' clinical reasoning. Method: A scoping study of the literature on community occupational therapists' clinical reasoning was undertaken. Results: Fifteen textbooks and 25 articles, including six focussing on community occupational therapists' clinical reasoning, were reviewed. Community occupational therapists' clinical reasoning is influenced by internal and external factors. Internal factors include past experiences, expertise and perceived complexity of a problem. One of the external factors, practice context (e.g. organisational or cultural imperatives, physical location of intervention), particularly shapes community occupational therapists' clinical reasoning, which is interactive, complex and multidimensional. However, the exact influence of many factors (personal context, organisational and legal aspects of health care, lack of resources and increased number of referrals) remains unclear. Conclusion: Further studies are needed to understand better the influence of internal and external factors. The extent to which these factors mould the way community occupational therapists think and act could have a direct influence on the services they provide to their clients.

Source: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bsc/aot/2010/00000057/00000006/art00002

Work in cancer survivors: a model for practice and research
As with other illnesses, several variables can impact the transition back to the workplace, long-term work productivity, or job retention among cancer survivors. We developed a model related to work and cancer based in part on the general area of work disability and the specific literature on cancer survivors and work. Methods: A systematic search of the literature on work and cancer was conducted to determine whether an evidence base existed to support the proposed model. Results : Forty-five papers met the review criteria. The percentage of studies that addressed modifiable categories included in the proposed model was: health and well-being (20%), symptoms (16%), function (24%), work demands (9%), work environment (18%), and policy, procedures, and economic factors (16%). Return to work was the most common work outcome studied although problems with productivity and retention are reported in the general cancer and work literature. Wide variation in definition of cancer survivor was reported and breast cancer survivors were studied most often. Each of the categories in the model has some empirical support. Discussion: The model considers the health, functional status in relation to demands, work environment, and policy, procedures, and financial factors. The model allows the clinician and survivor to consider factors that can be addressed by the health care provider, survivor, and workplace. Implications for Cancer Survivors. This model provides a framework to aid in conceptualizing problems related to work.
A Review of Occupational Knee Disorders

Lower extremity knee disorders, like other cumulative disorders of the body, build up over time through cumulative exposures. 2006 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveal that cumulative knee disorders account for 65% of lower extremity musculoskeletal disorders and 5% of total body musculoskeletal disorders. Methods The objective of the literature review was to find papers on work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) common to the knee region. From these, symptoms of the disorders, affected industries, and potential risk factors were assessed. Results A review of the literature divulges that knee disorders primarily consist of bursitis, meniscal lesions or tears, and osteoarthritis. Though kneeling and squatting are considered to be two of the primary risk factors correlated to these knee disorders, 12 other risk factors should also be contemplated. These 14 contributing risk factors include both occupational (extrinsic) and personal (intrinsic) variables that affect the labor industries. Example industries include mining, construction, manufacturing, and custodial services where knee bending postural activities exist as a commonality. Conclusion The understanding of the types of knee disorders, the affected occupations, and the job related risk factors will allow ergonomic practitioners and researchers to create and adjust work environments for the detection and lessening of knee work-related musculoskeletal risk. Further studies need to be conducted to (1) justify the presence of risk from certain risk factors and (2) enhance the understanding of risk factor dose–response levels and their temporal development.

Source:

http://www.springerlink.com/content/517p37t2j13502x6/

Disability Management Outcomes in the Ontario Long-Term Care Sector

Optimal disability management practices supporting early and safe return-to-work involve the workplace adoption of formal policies and procedures to ensure the quality of disability management outcomes. In the Canadian province of Ontario, there are approximately 60,000 health care workers in 600 licensed facilities providing long-term residential care to approximately 75,000 elderly residents. Workers in this sector are exposed to high biomechanical demands arising from care-giving tasks and have a substantial risk of work-related disability. Over the period 2000–2006, many long-term care facilities in Ontario adopted disability management practices that encourage modified work arrangements. The objective of this study was to describe differences in modified work arrangements and disability outcomes in long-term care facilities in Ontario. Methods Measures of disability episode outcomes are described for a representative sample of 32 Ontario long-term care facilities for two consecutive years 2005 and 2006. Data were obtained from a questionnaire survey of facilities, a survey of a representative sample of caregivers and administrative records from the provincial workers’ compensation agency. Results A total of 28,747 days of disability attributed to work-related conditions were experienced by 3,271 full-time equivalent staff in 2005 (28,034 days in 2006). Average total disability days were 922 per 100 full-time equivalent staff in 2005 and 889 per 100 full-time equivalent staff in 2006. Disability compensation expenditures, measured as wage replacement benefits received by disabled workers, were estimated to be 72,332 per 100 full-time equivalent staff in 2005 and 64,619 per 100 full-time equivalent staff in 2006. On average, approximately 60% of all disability days were managed by modified duty arrangements and the proportion of total disability days managed by modified duty arrangements for each facility was correlated between the two observation years. Conclusions Across facilities, there was no evidence that modified duty arrangements were associated with lower disability compensation expenditures and there was mixed evidence that modified duty was associated with a lower burden of disability. In this setting, disability days managed by modified duty arrangements were not accurately documented in worker’s compensation claim records.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/j8291vw68871g657/

What Concerns Workers with Low Back Pain? Findings of a Qualitative Study of Patients Referred for Rehabilitation

Health and workplace strategies to address work loss and sickness absence due to low back pain are urgently required. A better understanding of the experiences of those struggling to stay at work with back pain may help clinicians and employers with their treatment and management approaches. Methods A qualitative approach using thematic analysis was used. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of 25 low back pain patients who had been referred for multidisciplinary back pain rehabilitation. All were in employment and concerned about their ability to work due to low back pain. Initial codes were identified and refined through constant comparison of the transcribed interview scripts as data collection proceeded. Themes were finally identified and analysed by repeated study of the scripts and discussion with the research team. Findings Five main themes were identified: justifying back pain at work; concern about future ability to retain work; coping with flare-ups; reluctance to use medication; concern about sickness records. Conclusions In this study, workers with low back pain remained uncertain of how best to manage their condition in the workplace despite previous healthcare interventions and they were also concerned about the impact back pain might have on their job security and future work capacity. They were concerned about how back pain was viewed by their employers and co-workers and felt the need to justify their condition with a medical diagnosis and evidence. Clinicians and employers may need to address these issues in order to enable people to continue to work more confidently with back pain.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/rrm62237v017712p/

Prognostic Factors of Long Term Disability Due to Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review

Introduction In the past few decades, mental health problems have increasingly contributed to sickness absence and long-term disability. However, little is known about prognostic factors of return to work (RTW) and disability of persons already on sick leave due to mental health problems. Understanding these factors may help to develop effective prevention and intervention strategies to shorten the duration of disability and facilitate RTW. Method We reviewed systematically current scientific evidence about prognostic factors for mental health related long term disability, RTW and symptom recovery. Searching PubMed, PsycINFO, Embase, Cinahl and Business Source Premier, we selected articles with a publication date from January 1990 to March 2009, describing longitudinal cohort studies with a follow-up period of at least 1 year. Participants were persons on sick leave or receiving disability benefit at baseline. We assessed the methodological quality of included studies using an established criteria list. Consistent findings in at least two high quality studies were defined as strong evidence and positive findings in one high quality study were defined as limited evidence. Results Out of 796 studies, we included seven articles, all of high methodological quality describing a range of prognostic factors, according to the ICF-model categorized as health-related, personal and external factors. We found strong evidence that older age (>50 years) is associated with continuing disability and longer time to RTW. There is limited evidence for the association of other personal factors (gender, education, history of previous sickness absence, negative recovery expectation, socio-economic status), health related (stress-related and shoulder/back pain, depression/anxiety disorder) and external i.e., job-related factors (unemployment, quality and continuity of occupational care, supervisor behavior) with disability and RTW. We found limited evidence for the association of personal/external factors (education, sole breadwinner, partial/full RTW, changing work tasks) with symptom recovery. Conclusion This systematic review identifies a number of prognostic factors, some more or less consistent with findings in related literature (mental health factors, age, history of previous sickness absence, negative recovery expectation, socio-economic status, unemployment, quality and continuity of occupational care), while other prognostic factors (gender, level of education, sole breadwinner, supervisor support) conflict with existing evidence. There is still great need for research on modifiable prognostic factors of continuing disability and RTW among benefit claimants with mental health problems. Recommendations are made as to directions and methodological quality of further research, i.e., prognostic cohort studies.

Source:

J Occup Rehabil. 2010 Nov 6. [Epub ahead of print]

Can the Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire predict work status in people with work-related musculoskeltal disorders?

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the predictive validity of fear avoidance beliefs as assessed by the Work Subscale (FABQ-W) of the Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire in a sample of 117 patients with a work-related musculoskeletal disorder, and identify two FABQ-W cut off points that identified participants as high or low risk of non return to work, following an interdisciplinary rehabilitation program. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of patient data collected in conjunction with the Victorian Workcover Authority "Sprains and Strains" program. Sequential logistic regression analysis was used to construct a model of prediction from the baseline variables of age, disability (using the Pain Disability Index), gender and FABQ-W scores. Receiver Operator Characteristic (ROC) curves were used to identify FABQ-W cut off points that best predicted the return to work outcome. RESULTS: Age and initial FABQ-W scores significantly improved the predictive capabilities of the model, but gender and disability did not. The model explained between 13.1% and 18.2% of the variability in the RTW outcome. ROC curves showed maximum sensitivity was 100% for a score of ≤ 27.5, with a score of > 39.5 identified as having optimum specificity (81.9%). CONCLUSION: Individuals with low FABQ-W scores are likely to return to work, however those with high scores will not necessarily have a poor outcome. This study supports the limited utility of the FABQ-W score for screening for risk of a poor return to work outcome in patients with a work related musculoskeletal disorder.

Source: http://iospress.metapress.com/content/n6138266174558u2/?p=79b5d36f28a44f708b664e542e4a3ef1&pi=4

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