Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 157–161

Introduction to the Special Section: Sustainability of Work with Chronic Health Conditions

  • William S. Shaw
  • Torill H. Tveito
  • Cécile R. L. Boot
Article

Abstract

Background The increasing prevalence of older workers and chronic health conditions represents a growing occupational health concern. More research is needed to understand risk factors, apply and adapt theories, and test workplace-focused interventions that might prevent work disability and disengagement among chronically ill workers. Methods A 2-h roundtable symposium involving 28 participants was held at an international conference (Second Scientific Conference on Work Disability Prevention & Integration, Groningen, The Netherlands) in October 2012. In that symposium, small groups of participants were invited to discuss theoretical, methodological, and implementation considerations for studying workplace function and well-being among workers with chronic health conditions. As a follow-up to the symposium, the organizers invited authors to submit original articles to a Special Section of the Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation for peer review and publication. Results Results of the symposium reflected the need to address social, not just physical, aspects of the workplace, to include both individual-level and organizational interventions, and to integrate employer perspectives and operational models. Contributions to the Special Issue focus on outcome measurement, symptom self-management at work, job accommodations, prognostic factors for disability escalation, and the perceived needs of affected workers. Conclusions The content of the Special Section reflects an evolving body of research that continues to grapple with basic issues around choice of outcome measures, level of intervention, and the optimal ways to meet the needs of workers with chronic health conditions, including supporting efforts to manage symptoms and function at work. Future research should focus on integrating organizational and individual-level interventions.

Keywords

Workplace self-management Chronic illness Pain Disability prevention Research agenda 

References

  1. 1.
    Ricci JA, Stewart WF, Chee E, Leotta C, Foley K, Hochberg MC. Back pain exacerbations and lost productive time costs in United States workers. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006;31:3052–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Burton WN, Pransky G, Conti DJ, Chen CY, Edington DW. The association of medical conditions and presenteeism. J Occup Environ Med. 2004;46(6 Suppl):S38–45.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    van Leeuwen MT, Blyth FM, March LM, Nicholas MK, Cousins MJ. Chronic pain and reduced work effectiveness: the hidden cost to Australian employers. Eur J Pain. 2006;10:161–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brault M. Americans with disabilities: 2005, current population reports, P70-117. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau; 2008.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Center for Disease Control. Prevalence and most common causes of disability among adults—United States. MMWR. 2005;58(16):421–6. (mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5816a2.htm).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Murray CJL, Vos T, Lozano R, et al. Disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for 291 diseases and injuries in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the global burden of disease study 2010. Lancet. 2012;380:2197–223.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Feuerstein M. Cancer survivorship and work. J Occup Rehabil. 2005;15:1–2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    McGoldrick C. HIV and employment. Occup Med (Lond). 2012;62:242–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Peterson CL, Murphy G. Transition from the labor market: older workers and retirement. Int J Health Serv. 2010;40:609–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Leclerc A, Chastang JF, Ozguler A, Ravaud JF. Chronic back problems among persons 30 to 64 years old in France. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006;31:479–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Long DM, BenDebba M, Torgerson WS, Boyd RJ, Dawson EG, Hardy RW, Robertson JT, Sypert GW, Watts C. Persistent back pain and sciatica in the United States: patient characteristics. J Spinal Disord. 1996;9:40–58.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Blyth FM, March LM, Nicholas MK, Cousins MJ. Self-management of chronic pain: a population-based study. Pain. 2005;113:285–92.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Shaw WS, Feuerstein M, Haufler AJ, Berkowitz SM, Lopez MS. Working with low back pain: problem-solving orientation and function. Pain. 2001;93:129–37.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Tveito TH, Shaw WS, Huang Y, Nicholas M, Wagner G. Managing pain in the workplace: a focus group study of challenges, strategies, and what matters most to workers with low back pain. Disabil Rehabil. 2010;32:2035–45.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Serrano D, Manack AN, Reed ML, Buse DC, Varon SF, Lipton RB. Cost and predictors of lost productive time in chronic migraine and episodic migraine: results from the American Migraine Prevalence and prevention (ampp) study. Value Health. 2013;16:31–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Thornton-Snider J, Romley JA, Wong KS, Zhang J, Eber M, Goldman DP. The disability burden of COPD. COPD. 2012;9:513–21.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jacobs P, Bissonnette R, Guenther LC. Socioeconomic burden of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases—focusing on work productivity and disability. J Rheumatol Suppl. 2011;88:55–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Anesetti-Rothermel A, Sambamoorthi U. Physical and mental illness burden: disability days among working adults. Popul Health Manag. 2011;14:223–30.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Abma FI, Amick BC III, van der Klink JJL, Bültmann U. Prognostic factors for successful work functioning in the general working population. J Occup Rehabil. doi:10.1007/s10926-012-9410-0.
  20. 20.
    Koolhaas W, van der Klink JCL, Vervoort JPM, de Boer MR, Brouwer S, Groothoof JW. In-depth study of the workers’ perspectives to enhance sustainable working life: comparison between workers with and without a chronic health condition. J Occup Rehabil. doi:10.1007/s10926-013-9449-6.
  21. 21.
    Wilkie R, Blagojevic-Bucknall M, Jordan KP, Pransky G. Onset of work restriction in employed adults with lower limb joint pain: individual factors and area-level socioeconomic conditions. J Occup Rehabil. doi:10.1007/s10926-013-9443-z.
  22. 22.
    Boot CRL, van den Heuvel SG, Bültmann U, De Boer AGEM, Koppes LLJ, Van der Beek AJ. Work adjustments in a representative sample of employees with a chronic disease in the Netherlands. J Occup Rehabil. doi:10.1007/s10926-013-9444-y.
  23. 23.
    Detaille SI, Heerkens YF, Engels JA, Van der Gulden JJW, Van Dijk FJH. Effect evaluation of a self-management program for Dutch workers with a chronic somatic disease: a randomized controlled trial. J Occup Rehabil. doi:10.1007/s10926-013-9450-0.
  24. 24.
    Odeen M, Ihlebaek C, Indahl A, Wormgoor MEA, Lie SA, Eriksen HR. Effect of peer-based low back pain information and reassurance at the workplace on sick leave: a cluster randomized trial. J Occup Rehabil. doi:10.1007/s10926-013-9451-z.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • William S. Shaw
    • 1
    • 2
  • Torill H. Tveito
    • 3
    • 4
  • Cécile R. L. Boot
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Liberty Mutual Research Institute for SafetyHopkintonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Family Medicine and Community HealthUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Clinic Physical Medicine and RehabilitationVestfold Hospital TrustStavernNorway
  4. 4.Uni Health, Uni ResearchBergenNorway
  5. 5.Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care ResearchVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Body@Work, Research Center Physical Activity, Work and HealthTNO-VU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  7. 7.Institute for Work and HealthTorontoCanada

Personalised recommendations