Workplace Rehabilitation and Supportive Conditions at Work: A Prospective Study

Purpose To investigate the impact of rehabilitation measures on work ability and return to work (RTW), specifically the association between workplace rehabilitation/supportive conditions at work and work ability and RTW over time, among women on long-term sick leave. Methods Questionnaire data were collected (baseline, 6 and 12 months) from a cohort of women (n = 324). Linear mixed models were used for longitudinal analysis of the repeated measurements of work ability index (WAI), work ability score and working degree. These analyses were performed with different models; the explanatory variables for each model were workplace rehabilitation, supportive conditions at work and time. Results The individuals provided with workplace rehabilitation and supportive conditions (e.g. influence at work, possibilities for development, degree of freedom at work, meaning of work, quality of leadership, social support, sense of community and work satisfaction) had significantly increased WAI and work ability score over time. These individuals scored higher work ability compared to those individuals having workplace rehabilitation without supportive conditions, or neither. Additionally, among the individuals provided with workplace rehabilitation and supportive conditions, working degree increased significantly more over time compared to those individuals with no workplace rehabilitation and no supportive conditions. Conclusion The results highlight the importance of integrating workplace rehabilitation with supportive conditions at work in order to increase work ability and improve the RTW process for women on long-term sick leave.

Source: Ahlstrom, Linda; Hagberg, Mats; Dellve, Lotta, Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, vol. 23, no 2, June 2013, p. 248-260.

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