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Workplace-Based Return-to-Work Interventions: Optimizing the Role of Stakeholders in Implementation and Research

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Abstract

Introduction: The challenges of engaging and involving stakeholders in return-to-work (RTW) intervention and research have not been well documented. Methods: This article contrasts the diverse paradigms of workers, employers, insurers, labor representatives, and healthcare providers when implementing and studying workplace-based RTW interventions. Results: Analysis of RTW stakeholder interests suggests that friction is inevitable; however, it is possible to encourage stakeholders to tolerate paradigm dissonance while engaging in collaborative problem solving to meet common goals. We review how specific aspects of RTW interventions can be instrumental in resolving conflicts arising from differing paradigms: calibration of stakeholders' involvement, the role of supervisors and of insurance case managers, and procedural aspects of RTW interventions. The role of the researcher in engaging stakeholders, and ethical aspects associated with that process are discussed. Conclusions: Recommendations for future research include developing methods for engaging stakeholders, determining the optimal level and timing of stakeholder involvement, expanding RTW research to more diverse work settings, and developing RTW interventions reflecting all stakeholders' interests.

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Franche, RL., Baril, R., Shaw, W. et al. Workplace-Based Return-to-Work Interventions: Optimizing the Role of Stakeholders in Implementation and Research. J Occup Rehabil 15, 525–542 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-005-8032-1

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