Experience of the Implementation of a Multi-Stakeholder Return-to-Work Programme


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Publication Details

Author list: Tjulin, Åsa

Publication year: 2009

Start page: 409

End page: 418

Number of pages: 10

ISSN: 1053-0487

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10926-009-9195-y


Introduction Employers can use several strategies to facilitate return-to-work for workers on sick leave, but there seems to be limited knowledge of how workplace-based interventions are actually implemented in organisations. One public Swedish employer initiated a return-to-work programme which incorporated interventions suggested by earlier research, e.g. multi-professional health assessment, case management, educational peer-support groups and adapted workplace training. The overall purpose of the study is to analyse how the programme was implemented and experienced in the organisation, from the perspective of involved stakeholders, i.e. supervisors, occupational health consultants and a project coordinator. The objective of this paper is to identify and analyse how these stakeholders perceived that the programme had been implemented in relation to its intentions. Methods A qualitative method was used, consisting of individual interviews with eight supervisors and the project leader. Two group interviews with five occupational health service consultants were also conducted. Results The study revealed barriers to the implementation of return-to-work interventions. Not all of the intended interventions had been implemented as expected in policy. One explanation is that the key stakeholders expressed a more biomedical, individual view of work ability, while the programme was based on a more holistic, biopsychosocial view. Conclusion Implementation of a return-to-work programme is an ongoing, long-term multi-level strategy, requiring time for reflection, stakeholder participation, openness to change of intervention activities, and continuous communication.


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