In a recent study, investigators examined the efficacy of a modified vocational rehabilitation approach delivered by trained occupational therapists and physical therapists on work limitation and work loss over 2 years among people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions. They determined that the intervention did not have an effect on work limitations but reduced work loss. Eligibility criteria for this single-blind, parallel-arm, randomized trial included subjects aged between 21 and 65 years, and having ≥15 hours/week employment, self-reported doctor-diagnosed rheumatic or musculoskeletal condition, and concern about staying employed. The intervention consisted of a 1.5-hour meeting, an action plan, written materials on employment supports, and telephone calls at 3-weeks and 3-months. 652 individuals were assessed for eligibility; 287 participants were randomized: 143 intervention and 144 control participants. 264 participants (92%) completed 2-year data collection. They found:
- There was no difference in the mean Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ) change scores from baseline to 2-year follow-up (-8.6 ± 1.9 intervention vs -8.3 ± 2.2 control).
- Of the 36 participants who experienced permanent work loss at 2 years: 11 (8%) were intervention participants and 25 (18%) control participants.
Keysor JJ, LaValley MP, Brown C, et al. Efficacy of a work disability prevention program for people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal conditions: The Work It Study Trial. [Published online ahead of print September 21, 2017]. Arthritis Care Res. doi:10.1002/acr.23423.
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