Content » Vol 39, Issue 6

Original report

Improved work ability and return to work following vocational multidisciplinary rehabilitation of subjects on long-term sick leave

Tore Norendal Braathen, Kaj Bo Veiersted and Jan Heggenes
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0081


Objective: To evaluate a vocational multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme for patients on long-term sick leave with respect to their work ability and return to work.
Methods: A multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme was administered to an intervention group of 183 patients on long-term sick leave (mean 12. 2 months). Effects of the treatment were compared with a control group (n = 96) recruited from the national sickness insurance record of patients on sick leave of 6–12 months duration (mean 11. 5 months). Perceived work ability, return to work, background factors and psychosocial aspects of work were assessed on the basis of questionnaires at baseline and after 4 months.
Results: Perceived work ability of the intervention group improved significantly after 4 months compared with the control group (p < 0. 01). In the intervention group, 80% had returned to work compared with 66% in the control group (p = 0. 06). Return to work after 4 months was predicted by good work ability at baseline, improved work motivation, improved work ability at follow-up and increased rumours of change in the workplace (R2 26. 1–38. 6%, p < 0. 05).
Conclusion: This multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme significantly improved perceived work ability compared with treatment as usual.

Lay Abstract


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