Advertisement

The Role and Influence of Care Providers on Work Disability

Chapter

Abstract

Although health care providers often have a central role in the prevention and treatment of work disability, their contribution has not been consistently positive. This is unfortunate, as the consequences of unnecessary work disability include ill health and economic deprivation. Often, patients report that health care providers pay little attention to the work-related consequences of their illness, except when required by law to issue sickness certificates. Common problems include failure to recognize work disability as an important consideration, over-focus on biomedical issues and symptoms rather than on function, irrational cognitions about work and health, employing ineffective treatments, and inability to deal with workplace and social issues. Provider education, economic incentives, peer leadership, and support to address work disability issues can make a difference in provider influences on work outcomes. A change in paradigm is suggested, based in large part on improved communication among workers, employers, and health care providers. The evidence base for a positive health care providers’ influence is growing and in several countries evidence-based practice guidelines are available that directly address work disability issues. Practical research on how to achieve meaningful change in health care provider attitudes and practices in relation to work disability is still needed. Work disability prevention should be a goal for all health care providers.

Keywords

Sickness Absence Work Disability Sickness Certification Work Disability Prevention Occupational Health Professional 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Anema, J. R., Jettinghoff, K., Houtman, I. L. D., Schoemaker, C. G., Buijs, P. C., & van den Berg, R. (2006). Medical care of employees long-term sick listed due to mental health problems: A cohort study to describe and compare the care of the occupational physician and the general practitioner. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 16(1), 41–52.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anema, J. R., Steenstra, I. A., Bongers, P. M., et al. (2007). Multidisciplinary rehabilitation for subacute low back pain: Graded activity or workplace intervention or both? A randomized controlled trial. Spine, 32, 291–298.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anema, J. R., Van Der Giezen, A. M., Buijs, P. C., & Van Mechelen, W. (2002). Ineffective disability management by doctors is an obstacle for return-to-work: A cohort study on low back pain patients sick listed for 3–4 months. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 59(11), 729–733.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Black, C. (2008). Working for a healthier tomorrow. London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  5. Black, C., & Frost, D. (2011). Health at work—An independent review of sickness absence. London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  6. Buijs, P. C., Lambeek, L. C., Koppenrade, V., Hooftman, W. E., & Anema, J. R. (2009). Can workers with chronic back pain shift from pain elimination to function restore at work? Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, 22, 65–73.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Cabana, M. D., Rand, C. S., Powe, N. R., Wu, A. W., Wilson, M. H., Abboud, P.-A. C., et al. (1999). Why don’t physicians follow clinical practice guidelines? Journal of the American Medical Association, 282, 1458–1465.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cohen, D., Marfell, N., Webb, K., Robling, M., & Aylward, M. (2010). A focus group study. Occupational Medicine (London), 60(2), 121–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Coole, C., Watson, P., & Drummond, A. (2010). Staying at work with back pain: Patients’ experiences of work-related help received from GPs and other clinicians. A qualitative study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 11, 190.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. de Boer, W. E., Mentink, R. H., Hulshof, C. T., van Barneveld, T., Sterk, A., & van Vliet, C. (2008). Blauwdruk participeren in richtlijnen Leidraad voor het effectief opnemen van participeren en functioneren in werk in richtlijnen (Guidance for the effective integration of work-related aspects in clinical practice guidelines). Utrecht: VGI/NVAB/CBO.Google Scholar
  11. de Boer, A. G. E. M., Taskila, T., Tamminga, S. J., Frings-Dresen, M. H. W., Feuerstein, M., & Verbeek, J. H. (2011). Interventions to enhance return-to-work for cancer patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2), CD007569. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007569.pub2.
  12. Dekkers-Sánchez, P. M., Hoving, J. L., Sluiter, J. K., & Frings-Dresen, M. H. W. (2008). Factors associated with long-term sick leave in sick-listed employees: A systematic review. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 65, 153–157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Detaille, S. I., Haafkens, J. A., & van Dijk, F. J. H. (2003). What employees with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus and hearing loss need to cope at work. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 29(2), 134–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Domenech, J., Sánchez-Zuriaga, D., Segura-Ortí, E., Espejo-Tort, B., & Lisón, J. F. (2011). Impact of biomedical and biopsychosocial training sessions on the attitudes, beliefs, and recommendations of health care providers about low back pain: A randomised clinical trial. Pain, 152, 2557–2563.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Faber, E., Bierma-Zeinstra, S. M. A., Burdorf, A., Nauta, A. P., Hulshof, C. T. J., & Overzier, P. M. (2005). Training general practitioners and occupational physicians to collaborate does not influence sick leave of low back pain patients. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, 58, 75–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ferrell, B. R., Grant, M. M., Funk, B., et al. (1997). Quality of life in breast cancer survivors as identified by focus groups. Psycho-Oncology, 6, 13–23.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Guzman, J., Yassi, A., Cooper, J. E., & Khokhar, J. (2002). Return to work after occupational injury. Family physicians’ perspectives on soft-tissue injuries. Canadian Family Physician Médecin de Famille Canadien, 48, 1912–1919.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Hashtroudi, A., & Paterson, H. (2009). Occupational health advice in NICE guidelines. Occupational Medicine, 59, 353–356.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Health and Work Development Unit. (2010). Depression detection and management of staff on long term sickness absence—Occupational health practice in the NHS in England: A national clinical audit—Round 2. London: RCP.Google Scholar
  20. Healthcare Professionals’ Consensus Statement. (2008). Retrieved February 13, 2012, from http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/hwwb-healthcare-professionals-­consensus-statement-04-03-2008.pdf.
  21. Heijens, M. R. M., Elders, L. A. M., & Burdorf, A. (2003). Prognostische factoren voor langdurig ziekteverzuim door klachten van het bewegingsapparaat onder verzuimers. TSG/Gezondheidsw, 81, 142–147 (in Dutch).Google Scholar
  22. Houben, R. M., Ostelo, R. W., Vlaeyen, J. W., Wolters, P. M., & Peters, M. (2005). Health care providers’ orientations towards common low back pain predict perceived harmfulness of physical activities and recommendations regarding return to normal activity. European Journal of Pain, 9(2), 173–183.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hulshof, C. T. J. (2009). Working for a healthier tomorrow. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 66, 1–2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hulshof, C. T. J., & Frings-Dresen, M. H. W. (2011). International OH systems Part 2: Occupational health delivery in the Netherlands. Occupational Health at Work, 6(5), 19–23.Google Scholar
  25. Hussey, S., Hoddinott, P., Wilson, P., et al. (2004). Sickness certification system in the United Kingdom: A qualitative study of views of general practitioners in Scotland. British Medical Journal, 328, 88–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hussey, L., Turner, S., Thorley, K., McNamee, R., & Agius, R. (2010). Comparison of work-related ill health reporting by occupational physicians and general practitioners. Occupational Medicine, 60, 294–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Institute of Medicine. (2011). Clinical practice guidelines we can trust. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  28. Jette, A. M. (2006). Toward a common language for function, disability, and health. Physical Therapy, 86(5), 726–734.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Kovoor, P., Lee, A. K. Y., Carrozzi, F., Wiseman, V., Byth, K., Zecchin, R., et al. (2006). Return to full normal activities including work at two weeks after acute myocardial infarction. The American Journal of Cardiology, 97, 952–958.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kremer, L. C. M., & Burgers, J. S. (Eds.). (2011). Guideline for guidelines (in Dutch). Den Haag: Regieraad Kwaliteit van Zorg.Google Scholar
  31. Lambeek, L. C., van Mechelen, W., Knol, D. L., Loisel, P., & Anema, J. R. (2010). Randomised controlled trial of integrated care to reduce disability from chronic low back pain in working and private life. British Medical Journal, 340, c1035. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c1035.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Linton, S. J., Vlaeyen, J., & Ostelo, R. (2002). The back pain beliefs of health care providers: Are we fear-avoidant? Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 12(4), 223–232.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Loisel, P., Durand, M. J., Berthelette, D., Vezina, N., Baril, R., Gagnon, D., et al. (2001). Disability prevention: New paradigm for the management of occupational back pain. Disease Management & Health Outcomes, 9(7), 351–360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lötters, F. J. B., Foets, M., & Burdorf, A. (2011). Work and Health, a blind spot in curative healthcare? A pilot study. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 21, 304–312.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Maunsell, E., Brisson, C., Dubois, L., Lauzier, S., & Fraser, A. (1999). Work problems after breast cancer: An exploratory qualitative study. Psycho-Oncology, 8, 467–473.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Morris, J., & Watson, P. J. (2011). Investigating decisions to absent from work with low back pain: A study combining patient and GP factors. European Journal of Pain, 15(3), 278–285.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. NVAB (Netherlands Society of Occupational Medicine), Coronel Instituut voor Arbeid en gezondheid, NFK, CBO. (2008). Blauwdruk Kanker en Werk (Guidance Document on Cancer and Work). Utrecht: NVAB.Google Scholar
  38. Occupational Health Clinical Effectiveness Unit. (2009). Back pain management—Occupational health practice in the NHS in England: A national clinical audit. London: RCP.Google Scholar
  39. Pransky, G., Katz, J. N., Benjamin, K., & Himmelstein, J. (2002). Improving the physician role in evaluating work ability and managing disability: A survey of primary care practitioners. Disability and Rehabilitation, 24(16), 867–874.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pransky, G. S., Shaw, W. S., Franche, R. L., & Clarke, A. (2004). Disability prevention and communication among workers, physicians, employers, and insurers—Current models and opportunities for improvement. Disability and Rehabilitation, 26(11), 625–634.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rainville, J., Carlson, N., Polatin, P., Gatchel, R. J., & Indahl, A. (2000). Exploration of physicians’ recommendations for activities in chronic low back pain. Spine, 25(17), 2210–2220.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rebergen, D. S., Bruinvels, D. J., Bos, C. M., van der Beek, A. J., & van Mechelen, W. (2010). Return to work and occupational physicians’ management of common mental health problems-process evaluation of a randomized controlled trial. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 36(6), 488–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rebergen, D. S., Bruinvels, D. J., et al. (2009). Cost-effectiveness of guideline-based care for workers with mental health problems. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 51, 313–322.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Reme, S. E., Hagen, E. M., & Eriksen, H. R. (2009). Expectations, perceptions, and physiotherapy predict prolonged sick leave in subacute low back pain. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 10, 139.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rossignol, M., Abenhaim, L., Séguin, P., Neveu, A., Collet, J. P., Ducruet, T., et al. (2000). Coordination of primary health care for back pain. A randomized controlled trial. Spine, 25(2), 251–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rupe, K. L. (2010). Work restrictions: Documenting a patient’s return to work. The Nurse Practitioner, 35(11), 49–53. doi: 10.1097/01.NPR.0000388901.49604.a8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schene, A. H., Koeter, M. W., Kikkert, M. J., et al. (2007). Adjuvant occupational therapy for work-related major depression works: Randomized trial including economic evaluation. Psychological Medicine, 37, 351–362.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schuring, M., Burdorf, L., & Kunst, A. (2007). The effects of ill health on entering and maintaining paid employment: Evidence in European countries. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 61, 597–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Schuring, M., Mackenbach, J., Voorham, T., & Burdorf, A. (2011). The effect of re-employment on perceived health. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 65, 639–644.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Smits, P. B. A., de Graaf, L., Radon, K., de Boer, A. G., Bos, N. R., van Dijk, F. J. H., et al. (2011). Case-based e-learning to improve the attitude of medical students towards occupational health, a randomised controlled trial. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 69(4), 280–283.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Spelten, E. R., Sprangers, M. A., & Verbeek, J. H. (2002). Factors reported to influence the return to work of cancer survivors: A literature review. Psycho-Oncology, 11(2), 124–131.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Steenstra, I. A., Koopman, F. S., Knol, D. L., Kat, E., Bongers, P. M., de Vet, H. C., et al. (2005). Prognostic factors for duration of sick leave due to low back pain in Dutch health care professionals. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 15(4), 591–605.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. van der Klink, J. J., Blonk, R. H., Schene, A. H., & van Dijk, F. J. (2003). Reducing long-term sickness absence by an activating intervention in adjustment disorders: A cluster randomised controlled design. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60, 429–437.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. van der Weide, W. E., Verbeek, J. H., & Van Dijk, F. J. (1999). Relation between indicators for quality of occupational rehabilitation of employees with low back pain. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 56, 488–493.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. van Dijk, P., Hogervorst, W., ter Riet, G., & van Dijk, F. (2008). A protocol improves GP recording of long-term sickness absence risk factors. Occupational Medicine, 58, 257–262.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Van Dijk, F. J. H., Verbeek, J. H., Hoving, J. L., & Hulshof, C. T. J. (2010). A knowledge infrastructure for Occupational Safety and Health. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 52(12), 1262–1268.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. van Rijssen, J., Schellart, A. J. M., Anema, J. R., de Boer, W. E. L., & van der Beek, A. J. (2011). Systematic development of a communication skills training course for physicians performing work disability assessments: From evidence to practice. BMC Medical Education, 11, 28.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. van Weel, C., Orbon, K., van der Gulden, J., Buijs, P., Folgering, H., Thoonen, B., et al. (2006). Occupational health and general practice: From opportunities lost to opportunities capitalised? La Medicina del Lavoro, 97(2), 288–294.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. Varekamp, I., Haafkens, J. A., Detaille, S. I., Tak, P. P., & van Dijk, F. J. H. (2005). Preventing work disability among employees with rheumatoid arthritis: What medical professionals can learn from the patients’ perspective. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 53(6), 965–972.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Varekamp, I., Verbeek, J. H., de Boer, A., & van Dijk, F. J. H. (2011). Effect of job maintenance training program for employees with chronic disease—A randomized controlled trial on self-efficacy, job satisfaction, and fatigue. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 37(4), 288–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Varekamp, I., Verbeek, J. H. A. M., & van Dijk, F. J. H. (2006). How can we help employees with chronic diseases to stay at work? A review of interventions aimed at job retention and based on an empowerment perspective. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health, 80, 87–97.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Verbeek, J. H. (2006). How can doctors help their patients to return to work? PLoS Medicine. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030088.
  63. Verbeek, J., & Spelten, E. (2007). Work. In M. Feuerstein (Ed.), Handbook of cancer survivorship. Berkely: Springer.Google Scholar
  64. Verbeek, J., Spelten, E., Kammeijer, M., & Sprangers, M. (2003). Return to work of cancer survivors: A prospective cohort study into the quality of rehabilitation by occupational physicians. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 60, 352–357.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Waddell, G., & Burton, A. K. (2006). Is work good for your health and well-being? London: The Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  66. Wasiak, R., Pransky, G. S., & Atlas, S. J. (2008). Who’s in charge? Challenges in evaluating quality of primary care treatment for low back pain. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 14(6), 961–968.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Weevers, H. J., van der Beek, A. J., van den Brink-Muinen, A., Bensing, J., Boot, C. R., & van Mechelen, W. (2009). Communication about work between general practitioners and patients consulting for musculoskeletal disorders. Quality in Primary Care, 17(3), 197–203.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. WHO. (2007). Global plan of action on workers’ health. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
  69. WHO, TNO, Government of the Netherlands. (2011). Programme global conference. Connecting health and labour: What role for occupational health in primary health care? The Hague, WHO global conference, 29 November to 1 December 2011.Google Scholar
  70. World Health Organization. (2001). International classification of functioning, disability and health. Geneva: World Health Organization. Retrieved December 24, 2011, from http://www.who.int/classifications/icf/en
  71. Wynne-Jones, G., Mallen, C. D., Main, C. J., & Dunn, K. M. (2010). Sickness certification and the GP: What really happens in practice? Family Practice, 27(3), 344–350.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department: Coronel Institute of Occupational, Health Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department: Centre of ExcellenceNetherlands Society of Occupational Medicine (NVAB)UtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Center for Disability Research, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for SafetyHopkintonUSA

Personalised recommendations