Workplace disability management programs promoting return-to-work: A systematic review

Ulrik Gensby, Thomas Lund, Krystyna Kowalski, Madina Saidj, Anne Marie Klint Jørgensen, Trine Filges, Emma Irvin, Benjamin C. Amick III, Merete Labriola

    Research output: Book/ReportReportpeer-review

    Abstract

    This report presents a Campbell systematic review on the effectiveness of workplace disability management programs (WPDM programs) promoting return to work (RTW), as implemented and practised by employers. The objectives of this review were to assess the effects of WPDM programs, to examine components or combination of components, which appear more highly related to positive RTW outcomes, and get an understanding of the research area to assess needed research.

    A total of 16,932 records were identified by the initial search. Of these, 599 papers were assessed for relevance. Thirteen studies (two non-randomized studies (NRS) and eleven single group ‘before and after’ studies (B & A)), including data from eleven different WPDM programs, met the inclusion criteria.

    There were insufficient data on the characteristics of the sample and the effect sizes were uncertain. There is a lack of evidence to draw unambiguous conclusions on the effectiveness of employer provided WPDM programs promoting RTW. Thus, we could not determine if specific program components or specific sets of components are driving effectiveness. However, narrative descriptions of the included program characteristics were rich, and provide valuable insights into program scope, components, procedures and human resources involved.

    Employer provided WPDM programs are multi-component constructs, offering a suite of policies and practices for injured or ill employees. The review identified 15 constituent program components, covering individual, organizational, and system level policies and practices, depicting key human resources involved in workplace program procedures and administration.

    The existing evidence leaves room for more rigorous methodological studies to develop the present WPDM knowledge base. Prospectively, WPDM evaluation research ought to enlarge its perspective and refine its analytic tools to examine information that is meaningful and cost effective to those who will benefit from it, to further advance the field.

    The review findings might help explicate WPDM programs and their potential impact on RTW outcomes, and provide a more complete understanding of the research in the field of WPDM. This may inspire researchers, employers, and policy makers, who are interested not only in questions regarding the impact of programs, but also their nature, to promote future design and evaluation of DM in organizations.
    Translated title of the contributionEffekten af virksomhedsbaserede indsatser for at hjælpe sygemeldte medarbejdere tilbage til arbejde : En systematisk forskningsoversigt
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherCampbell Collaboration
    Number of pages154
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012

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