2010-04-01 12:00 - Messages

Are immigrants, ethnic and linguistic minorities over-represented in jobs with a high level of compensated risk? Results from a Montréal, Canada study using census and workers' compensation data
Few Canadian data sources allow the examination of disparities by ethnicity, language, or immigrant status in occupational exposures or health outcomes. However, it is possible to document the mechanisms that can create disparities, such as the over-representation of population groups in high-risk jobs. We evaluated, in the Montréal context, the relationship between the social composition of jobs and their associated risk level.

We used data from the 2001 Statistics Canada census and from Québec's workers' compensation board for 2000-2002 to characterize job categories defined as major industrial groups crossed with three professional categories (manual, mixed, non-manual). Immigrant, visible, and linguistic minority status variables were used to describe job composition. The frequency rate of compensated health problems and the average duration of compensation determined job risk level. The relationship between the social composition and risk level of jobs was evaluated with Kendall correlations.

The proportion of immigrants and minorities was positively and significantly linked to the risk level across job categories. Many relationships were significant for women only. In analyses done within manual jobs, relationships with the frequency rate reversed and were significant, except for the relationship with the proportion of individuals with knowledge of French only, which remained positive.

Immigrants, visible, and linguistic minorities in Montréal are more likely to work where there is an increased level of compensated risk. Reversed relationships within manual jobs may be explained by under-reporting and under-compensation in vulnerable populations compared to those with knowledge of the province's majority language.

Few Canadian data sources allow the examination of disparities by ethnicity, language, or immigrant status in occupational exposures or health outcomes. However, it is possible to document the mechanisms that can create disparities, such as the over-representation of population groups in high-risk jobs. We evaluated, in the Montréal context, the relationship between the social composition of jobs and their associated risk level. We used data from the 2001 Statistics Canada census and from Québec's workers' compensation board for 2000-2002 to characterize job categories defined as major industrial groups crossed with three professional categories (manual, mixed, non-manual). Immigrant, visible, and linguistic minority status variables were used to describe job composition. The frequency rate of compensated health problems and the average duration of compensation determined job risk level. The relationship between the social composition and risk level of jobs was evaluated with Kendall correlations. The proportion of immigrants and minorities was positively and significantly linked to the risk level across job categories. Many relationships were significant for women only. In analyses done within manual jobs, relationships with the frequency rate reversed and were significant, except for the relationship with the proportion of individuals with knowledge of French only, which remained positive. Immigrants, visible, and linguistic minorities in Montréal are more likely to work where there is an increased level of compensated risk. Reversed relationships within manual jobs may be explained by under-reporting and under-compensation in vulnerable populations compared to those with knowledge of the province's majority language.

Source: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123397147/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

The burden of occupational cancer in Great Britain

Cette étude publiée par le Health and Safety Executive (HSE) de Grande-Bretagne présente une série de données épidémiologiques sur les cancers professionnels et l'impact économique de ces derniers. Le résumé de cette étude est disponible sur le site du HSE, ainsi que le rapport détaillé:


The Necessity of Professional Disclosure and Informed Consent for Rehabilitation Counselors

Within the rehabilitation counseling arena, professional disclosure and informed consent are critical concepts for the rehabilitation counselor to understand. Once understood, they become key components of a rehabilitation counselor's daily practice. Counselors need to provide sufficient prior information about their evaluation and services to respect the individual's right to make an informed choice about participating in the activities. This is one of the most important steps for the counselor to make at the outset of the relationship and thereafter. Yet, inconsistency abounds among rehabilitation counselors when it comes to providing a full and adequate disclosure, thereby ensuring the individual's right to informed consent. This article addresses the history of these issues, the manner by which earlier versions of the Code of Professional Ethics for Rehabilitation Counselors addressed them, and the changes regarding disclosure and informed consent within the revised 2010 code. Because the code now requires written disclosure, this article provides guidance to rehabilitation counselors for incorporating proper professional disclosure and informed consent protocols into their daily professional activities.

Source: http://rcb.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/0034355210368567v1?rss=1

Follow-up of neck and shoulder pain among sewing machine operators: The Los Angeles garment study

BACKGROUND: The aim of the present study is to explore factors affecting or modifying self-reported neck/shoulder pain in sewing machine operators. METHODS: We investigated self-report neck/shoulder pain in 247 workers who participated in a 4-month prospective intervention study for musculoskeletal disorders. All participants were immigrants. We examine the influence of individual and work-related factors on changes in neck/shoulder pain during follow-up employing linear mixed models with time-spline functions. RESULTS: We observed a dramatic decline (72%) in self-reported pain intensity in the first month of follow-up, followed by a small increase from the first to fourth month (4% per month). Workers who perceived and reported their physical workload as high or worked overtime experienced less overall pain reduction. Higher baseline pain intensity, being of Hispanic ethnicity (vs. Asian), and taking cumulative daily rest time during work of 35 min or more allowing for muscles to rest were associated with a larger pain reduction in the first month, but not thereafter. CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that some work-related factors may be of clinical relevance for reducing neck/shoulder pain. Having lower physical workloads and less overtime work should be considered when treating patients or planning workplace interventions for managing work-related musculoskeletal disorders in this underserved immigrant population.

Source: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123215695/abstract

Recovery Expectations Predict Recovery in Workers With Back Pain but Not Other Musculoskeletal Conditions

Study Design: Prospective cohort study. Objective: We examined whether recovery expectations predict future return-to-work in workers filing injury claims for a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. Summary of Background Data: Recovery expectations seem to influence recovery and return-to-work after back pain, but their role in other compensable conditions is uncertain. Methods: All workers' compensation claimants receiving time-loss benefits for a musculoskeletal condition and undergoing return-to-work assessment were enrolled. Claimants completed a work-related recovery expectations questionnaire. Outcomes during the 1-year follow-up included surrogate indicators of timely return-to-work (days until suspension of time-loss benefits) and recovery (claim closure). Analysis included multivariable Cox regression. Results: The sample consisted of 1040 claimants of whom 298 (29%) had back pain, 461 (44%) had sprains, strains, or pain of other body parts besides the back, 234 (23%) had specific injuries such as fracture, dislocation, or amputation, and 47 (5%) had other compensable conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome or knee internal derangement. The majority of participants had chronic conditions (mean duration >6 mo). Negative work-related recovery expectations were consistently associated with slower suspension of time-loss benefits (Hazard Ratio 0.83) and slower claim closure (Hazard Ratio 0.84) in claimants with back pain, but associations in other diagnostic groups were inconsistent and not statistically significant. Associations were slightly larger within the group of claimants with back pain of less than 3-month duration. onclusions: Recovery expectations provide some information for predicting future recovery in workers filing injury claims for back pain, but do not seem to predict recovery in claimants with other musculoskeletal conditions.

Source: http://journals.lww.com/jspinaldisorders/Abstract/publishahead/Recovery_Expectations_Predict_Recovery_in_Workers.99917.aspx

Return to work following disabling occupational injury – facilitators of employment continuation

Return to work following occupational injury is an important rehabilitation milestone; however, it does not mark the end of the return-to-work process. Following a return to the workplace, workers can experience difficulties that compromise their rehabilitation gains. Although there has been investigation of factors related to a return to the workplace, little attention has been paid to understanding what facilitates continued return-to-work success as this paper aims to do. Methods This study used data gathered during one-on-one telephone interviews with 146 people who experienced a work-related injury that resulted in their being unable to return to their pre-injury job, but who returned to work following an extended period of absence and the receipt of vocational services. Results Numerous return-to-work facilitators were reported, including features of the workers' environmental and personal contexts, as well as body function, activities, and participation. Influences that stood out included a perception that the work was appropriate, supportive workplace relationships, and a sense of satisfaction/achievement associated with being at work. Conclusions The findings support the contention that initiatives aimed at improving return-to-work outcomes can go beyond the removal of barriers to include interventions to circumvent difficulties before they are encountered. Together with providing ideas for interventions, the study's findings offer an insight into research and theoretical development that might be undertaken to further the understanding of the return-to-work process and the factors that impact upon it.

Source: http://www.sjweh.fi/show_abstract.php?abstract_id=2986

Cluster Analysis of Symptoms Among Patients with Upper Extremity Musculoskeletal Disorders

Introduction Some musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremity are not readily classified. The study objective was to determine if there were symptom patterns in self-identified repetitive strain injury (RSI) patients. Methods Members (n = 700) of the Dutch RSI Patients Association filled out a detailed symptom questionnaire. Factor analysis followed by cluster analysis grouped correlated symptoms. Results Eight clusters, based largely on symptom severity and quality were formulated. All but one cluster showed diffuse symptoms; the exception was characterized by bilateral symptoms of stiffness and aching pain in the shoulder/neck. Conclusions Case definitions which localize upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders to a specific anatomical area may be incomplete. Future clustering studies should rely on both signs and symptoms. Data could be collected from health care providers prospectively to determine the possible prognostic value of the identified clusters with respect to natural history, chronicity, and return to work.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/b5g1687610t33u66/

The effectiveness of walking as an intervention for low back pain: a systematic review

As current low back pain (LBP) guidelines do not specifically advocate walking as an intervention, this review has explored for the effectiveness of walking in managing acute and chronic LBP. CINAHL, Medline, AMED, EMBASE, PubMed, Cochrane and Scopus databases, as well as a hand search of reference lists of retrieved articles, were searched. The search was restricted to studies in the English language. Studies were included when walking was identified as an intervention. Four studies met inclusion criteria, and were assessed with a quality checklist. Three lower ranked studies reported a reduction in LBP from a walking intervention, while the highest ranked study observed no effect. Heterogeneity of study design made it difficult to draw comparisons between studies. There is only low–moderate evidence for walking as an effective intervention strategy for LBP. Further investigation is required to investigate the strength of effect for walking as a primary intervention in the management of acute and chronic LBP.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/gu2r245w344wlw5w/

Effectiveness of exercise on work disability in patients with non-acute non-specific low back pain...

Objectives: To determine whether exercise is more effective than usual care to reduce work disability in patients with non-acute non-specific low back pain, and if so, to explore which type of exercise is most effective.
Methods: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials investigating the effectiveness of exercise in non-acute non-specific low back pain, and reporting on work disability. Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PEDro, Cochrane Library databases, NIOSHTIC-2, and PsycINFO until August 2008. Work disability data were converted to odds ratios. Random effects meta-analyses were conducted.
Results: A total of 23 trials met the inclusion criteria, 20 of which were suitable for inclusion in meta-analysis allowing 17 comparisons of exercise interventions with usual care and 11 comparisons of 2 different exercise interventions. A statistically significant effect in favour of exercise on work disability was found in the long term (odds ratio (OR) = 0.66, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.48–0.92) but not in the short (OR = 0.80, 95% CI 0.51–1.25) and intermediate term (OR = 0.78, 95% CI 0.45–1.34). Meta-regression indicated no significant effect of specific exercise characteristics.
Conclusion: Exercise interventions have a significant effect on work disability in patients with non-acute non-specific low back pain in the long term. No conclusions can be made regarding exercise types.

Source: http://jrm.medicaljournals.se/article/abstract/10.2340/16501977-0524

Determinants of early return to work after first stroke in Japan

Objective: To examine the time to return to work after first stroke and identify determinants of early return to work in Japan.
Design: A multicentre, prospective cohort study on the association between characteristics at admission and early return to work after first stroke.
Subjects: Among 464 patients after first stroke, 325 were registered in this study. All participants were younger than 65 years and engaged in paid work at the time of the stroke.
Methods: Data collected prospectively for 18 months were analysed using the Kaplan–Meier method for time trends, and then a multiple logistic regression model for odds ratio of early to late return to work was conducted.
Results: Of the 325 registered patients (mean age 55.1, standard deviation (SD) 7.4 years), 253 (78%) were available for follow-up, and 138 (55%) returned to work. The curve of proportion of return to work was non-linear. Significant determinants of early return to work were gender, function of hemiplegic hand, and ability to perform activities of daily living independently.
Conclusion: The curve of time to return to work was influenced by the follow-up days. Patients after stroke who were male and/or had milder physical disabilities tended to return to work earlier.

Source: http://jrm.medicaljournals.se/article/abstract/10.2340/16501977-0503

Therapeutic Engagement: A Proposed Model of Engagement in Medical Rehabilitation

A major goal of physical medicine and rehabilitation is the recovery of function after an injury or the underlying medical condition that has caused impairment in one's daily functioning. The rehabilitation process involves a complex interplay of many factors that influence how well a person benefits from medical rehabilitation. There is burgeoning evidence that for patients to maximize rehabilitation benefits, they must be actively involved or engaged in the process. In this article, the construct of therapeutic engagement is defined, and a theoretical model is proposed to illustrate how and why individuals engage in medical rehabilitation treatment. It is hoped that such a model can form the basis for further research on therapeutic engagement that facilitates the understanding of the process variables that play a role in rehabilitation outcomes. Areas for future research and the implications for clinical application are discussed.

Source: http://journals.lww.com/ajpmr/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2010&issue=05000&article=00010&type=abstract

The Adequacy of Chronic Pain Management Prior to Presenting at a Tertiary Care Pain Center: The Role of Patient Socio-Demographic Characteristics

The Pain Management Index (PMI) is used to assess pain medication adequacy in black and white chronic pain patients (18–50 years) at referral to tertiary pain care. Using WHO guidelines for pain treatment, PMI was calculated from pain severity and drug analgesic potency. From 183 patients recruited, 128 provided treatment information for analyses (53% white, 60% female). Most (51.6%) had adequate PMI. Blacks were prescribed fewer pain medications (P = .03); fewer women had adequate medication strength (P = .04). In hierarchical regression, PMI was predicted at entry by female gender, lower MPI, higher affective MPQ, and a genderXage interaction. Younger men experienced better pain management, reducing toward the PMI level of women by age 50. In the final block, black race, being married, affective pain, and genderXage were associated with higher PMI, female gender and being employed were associated with lower PMI. Women, particularly younger women, were at higher risk for inadequate pain management in a primary care environment. These results support variability in chronic pain care and the need for research focusing on whether these disparities persist with specialized pain care.

Source: http://www.jpain.org/article/PIIS1526590009008335/abstract?rss=yes

Medical Assessments of the Years 2004 and 2005 at the Diagnostic Medical Department MEDAS, University Clinic Basel - A Critical Analysis

Les expertises commandées par l'assurance invalidité (AI) concernant des patients demandant à bénéficier d'une rente AI constituent un volet important des prestations de MEDAS/asim, Bâle. L'analyse de 593 expertises effectuées en 2004/2005 avait pour but de fournir des précisions sur les caractéristiques de cette catégorie de patients. Dans le cadre de ce travail, des données relatives à la sociodémographie, aux diagnostics et à la capacité de travail attestée ont été collectées rétrospectivement et exploitées. La majorité des patients étaient des immigrants (61%) de l'Europe du sud et du sud-est, dont 86% souffraient de douleurs chroniques et de dépressions. Lors de l'examen de leur dossier, seules 101 personnes, soit 17%, exerçaient encore une activité professionnelle à plein temps ou à temps partiel. Le dernier jour de travail dans des emplois en majeure partie non qualifiés remontait à quelques mois, voire à plusieurs années; dans 38% des cas, ce laps de temps était compris entre 1,5 et 2,5 ans.

(article en langue allemande seulement; résumés allemand, anglais et français disponibles)

Source: http://www.verlag-hanshuber.com/zeitschriften/journal.php?abbrev=PRX&show=abstract&abstract=26987

Outcome measures in chronic low back pain

The purpose of this prospective, single site cohort quasi-experimental study was to determine the responsiveness of the numerical rating scale (NRS), Roland–Morris disability questionnaire (RMDQ), Oswestry disability index (ODI), pain self-efficacy questionnaire (PSEQ) and the patient-specific functional scale (PSFS) in order to determine which would best measure clinically meaningful change in a chronic low back pain (LBP) population. Several patient-based outcome instruments are currently used to measure treatment effect in the chronic LBP population. However, there is a lack of consensus on what constitutes a “successful” outcome, how an important improvement/deterioration has been defined and which outcome measure(s) best captures the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions for the chronic LBP population. Sixty-three consecutive patients with chronic LBP referred to a back exercise and education class participated in this study; 48 of the 63 patients had complete data. Five questionnaires were administered initially and after the 5-week back class intervention. Also at 5 weeks, patients completed a global impression of change as a reflection of meaningful change in patient status. Score changes in the five different questionnaires were subjected to both distribution- and anchor-based methods: standard error of measurement (SEM) and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to define clinical improvement. From these methods, the minimal clinically important difference (MCID) defined as the smallest difference that patients and clinicians perceive to be worthwhile is presented for each instrument. Based on the SEM, a point score change of 2.4 in the NRS, 5 in the RMDQ, 17 in the ODI, 11 on the PSEQ, and 1.4 on the PSFS corresponded to the MCID. Based on ROC curve analysis, a point score change of 4 points for both the NRS and RMDQ, 8 points for the ODI, 9 points for the PSEQ and 2 points for the PSFS corresponded to the MCID. The ROC analysis demonstrated that both the PSEQ and PSFS are responsive to clinically important change over time. The NRS was found to be least responsive. The exact value of the MCID is not a fixed value and is dependent on the assessment method used to calculate the score change. Based on ROC curve analysis the PSFS and PSEQ were more responsive than the other scales in measuring change in patients with chronic LBP following participation in a back class programme. However, due to the small sample size, the lack of observed worsening of symptoms over time, the single centre and intervention studied these results which need to be interpreted with caution.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/gv0106uvmq7r635m/

The adaptation process after traumatic brain injury An individual and ongoing occupational struggle to gain a new identity

The aim of this study is to understand better how individuals with traumatic brain injury make sense of their adaptation process and their performance of occupations within this process. For this study, four participants were interviewed twice. Thereafter analyses following a narrative approach led to the construction of four individual narratives. The results indicate that the adaptation process following traumatic brain injury is (1) a necessary struggle to gain a new identity; (2) facilitated by engagement in familiar occupations in familiar environments; (3) a protracted learning process that continues long after rehabilitation ends; (4) individual and situated. The results suggest that healthcare professionals including occupational therapists should: allow individuals with traumatic brain injury to test and practise their abilities within their own home environments; provide them with the necessary space to practise on their own; guide them in using their own and new strategies in a way that is both efficient and personally satisfying. Finally, this study discusses whether rehabilitation services should be offered over a protracted period of time. Professional support following the rehabilitation period—precisely the period in which they are trying to establish a meaningful existence with their disabilities—could be a more useful path to follow.

Source: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/11038121003645985

Disability Management: Organizational Diversity and Dutch Employment Policy

Introduction While Human Resource Managers (HRM) and line managers could play a significant role in the prevention of job-related problems and in promotion of early job-continuation, it is not clear wether the chronically ill workers are recognized as a group. Unlike some other groups, distinguished by gender, age or ethnicity, those with chronic illness are less distinct and may not be included in diversity management programs. The aim of this research is to address theory and evidence in literature about the topic, as well as to inquire whether chronic illness of the employees is ‘visible' in practice. Methods For desk research, we used a systematic search strategy involving medical, statistical, management, and social science databases (Web of Science, MedLine, Pub Med, Psych Info, etc.). Research results are based on case studies conducted with the managers and HRM of government and commercial organizations between March 2007 and October 2008 and between October 2008 and April 2009. These case studies were based on open interviews and focus group sessions (for human resource departments) which were consequently analyzed using thematical analysis. For group sessions, we used concept mapping to collect information from two groups of HRM professionals and managers. Secondary analysis included thematic and content analysis of ‘best practice' organizations carried out by the Dutch organization Gatekeeper. Conclusions We have discovered that the chronically ill employees are largely invisible to HRM practitioners, line managers who do not always have the right instruments for implementation of the European or national frameworks. Most practitioners are unaware of the impact of chronic illness in their organizations and in employees work life.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/m630q833025h6570/

Rehabilitation and indigenous peoples: the Maori experience

Indigenous peoples often have the worst health status in comparison to non-indigenous people in their own nations; urgent action to address the health inequities for indigenous people is required. The role of rehabilitation in addressing health and disability inequities is particularly important due to the health need of indigenous peoples; the unequal distribution of health determinants; and disparities in access to, quality of care through and outcomes following rehabilitation. This article will present a perspective for Maori, the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, on a framework for improving rehabilitation services for Maori and ultimately their health and wellbeing.

Source: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638281003775378

An application of computerised adaptive testing for measuring health status in patients with knee osteoarthritis

The aim of this study was to explore the potential of computerised adaptive testing (CAT) for measuring health status in knee osteoarthritis. Method.Three hundred and fifty-one patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) answered 118 questions from a range of widely used questionnaires. Three dimensions relevant to knee OA were identified by expert opinion as ‘pain, mental and emotional status'; ‘self-care and household activities' and ‘mobility and social activities'. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test the relationship between the items and their dimensions. After CFA, these dimensions were subjected to Rasch analysis to calibrate the items onto an interval scale. A CAT was developed for each dimension, and the results checked against simulated applications from 10,000 simulees. Results.After CFA and Rasch analysis, 14, 22 and 23 items remained in the first, second and third dimensions, respectively. Items were mostly free of differential item functioning for age, gender and duration of disease. Reliability exceeded 0.87 for each dimension. The health status levels generated using item banks and those obtained from the simulated CAT application were highly correlated (i.e. >0.91 for each dimension). On average, 8, 10 and 10 items were used to estimate the health status levels using the CAT for the first, second and third dimensions respectively. Conclusions.Using a combination approach of CFA and Rasch analysis, this study has shown that it is possible to calibrate items onto a single metric in a way that can be used to provide the basis of a CAT application.

Source: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638281003777572

La réparation du préjudice permanent subi par les victimes d’accidents du travail et de maladies professionnelles

Publication des Actes de la conférence européenne du 23 juin 2009 sur la réparation du préjudice permanent subi par les victimes d'accidents du travail et de maladies professionnelles.

Actes : http://www.risquesprofessionnels.ameli.fr/atmp_media/actes_journee_debat_du_23_06.pdf

Source : http://www.risquesprofessionnels.ameli.fr/fr/accueil_home/accueil_accueil_home_1.php

Early Intervention Options for Acute Low Back Pain Patients: A Randomized Clinical Trial with One-Year Follow-Up Outcomes

In an earlier study, Gatchel et al. (J Occup Rehabil 13:1–9, 2003) demonstrated that participants at high risk for developing chronic low back pain disability (CLBPD), who received a biopsychosocial early intervention treatment program, displayed significantly more symptom improvement, as well as cost savings, relative to participants receiving standard care. The purpose of the present study was to expand on these results by examining whether the addition of a work-transition component would further strengthen the effectiveness of this early intervention treatment. Methods Using an existing algorithm, participants were identified as being high-risk (HR) or low-risk (LR) for developing CLBPD. HR participants were then randomly assigned to one of three groups: early intervention (EI); early intervention with work transition (EI/WT); or standard care (SC). Participants provided information regarding pain, disability, work status, and psychosocial functioning at baseline, periodically during treatment, and again 1 year following completion of treatment. Results At 1-year follow-up, no significant differences were found between the EI and EI/WT groups in terms of occupational status, self-reports of pain and disability, coping ability or psychosocial functioning. However, significant differences in all these outcomes were found comparing these groups to standard care. Conclusion The addition of a work transition component to an early intervention program for the treatment of ALBP did not significantly contribute to improved work outcomes. However, results further support the effectiveness of early intervention for high-risk ALBP patients.

Source: http://www.springerlink.com/content/h3j7312t45594315/

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/

Psychological distress among immigrants and visible minorities in Canada: a contextual analysis

Immigrants to Canada are less likely to report depression compared with the non-immigrant population. This healthy migrant effect has not so far been explained by demographic and socioeconomic determinants of health. Aim: The present study examined whether the psychological health advantage of immigrants varied across Canadian health regions and investigated the hypothesis of immigrant density as a determinant of immigrant mental health advantage. Methods: Data from the 2000–2001 Canadian Community Health Survey were used to build multi-level models estimating variation in depression within and between health regions by immigrant/visible minority status. Results: Immigrant and visible minority residents were less likely to experience depression compared with the general population. Depression varied across health regions and the extent of variation was greater for visible minorities. The likelihood of depression decreased with increasing percentage of immigrants in the region among visible minority participants but not among whites. Conclusions: The protection against depression afforded by immigrant and visible minority status in Canada appears to depend on contextual factors, notably the percentage of immigrants in the region. Future work should seek to better characterize the experiences of visible minorities in different settings.

Source: http://isp.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/0020764010365407v1

The association between cognitive factors, pain and disability in patients with idiopathic chronic neck pain

Purpose.The aim of this study was to establish the relationship between known cognitive factors and levels of pain and disability in patients with idiopathic chronic neck pain. Method.Ninety-four patients referred for physiotherapy because of chronic neck pain completed measures of pain, disability, catastrophising, pain-related fear, pain vigilance and awareness and self-efficacy beliefs. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were then performed to establish whether the cognitive factors were significant determinants of levels of pain and disability. Results.The cognitive measures were significantly related to levels of pain and disability, explaining 23% of the variance in pain intensity and 30% of the variance in disability. Specifically, greater catastrophising (β=0.37, p<0.05) and lower pain vigilance and awareness (β=−0.32, p<0.05) were associated with greater pain intensity. Moreover, greater catastrophising (β=0.26, p<0.05) and lower functional self-efficacy beliefs (β=−0.34, p<0.001) were significantly associated with greater levels of disability. Conclusions.Cognitive factors were strongly related to levels of pain and disability in patients with chronic neck pain. In view of this, targeting the modification of these cognitive factors should be an integral part of therapy when treating patients with idiopathic chronic neck pain.

Source: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09638281003734342

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/early/2010/04/01/oem.2009.050849.abstract

Communication as negotiation processes in long-term physiotherapy: a qualitative study

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe communicative patterns about change in demanding physiotherapy treatment situations. Methods: A multiple case study of eleven treatment courses was carried out, based on in-depth individual interviews, focus group interview, personal notes and repeated video-recordings. To compare communication within and over sessions, a two-step procedure was applied: identification of communication patterns and detailed analysis of selected dialogues from video-recorded sequences. Findings: One main communicative pattern was identified: Seeking for common ground – demanding negotiating process. This pattern was interrupted by short episodes of two types of challenges; the pattern of ambivalence and uncertainty, and the pattern of impatience and disagreement. Communication between the participants appeared as a demanding and complex process of negotiations during the treatment processes. The physiotherapists' sensitivity of and ability to negotiate the tasks, the emotions related to tasks and the nature of the relationships, seemed to facilitate change. The patients' and the physiotherapists' capacity to bear and come through demanding situations created new ways of interaction. Conclusion: The demanding situations may generate a potential for the development and the improvement of treatment outcomes. Understanding such episodes as open and dynamic, in contrast to defining the patient as demanding, suggests a useful perspective for treatment.

Source: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123340327/abstract?CRETRY=1&SRETRY=0

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