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Feasibility and effectiveness of offering a solution-focused follow-up to employees with psychological problems or muscle skeletal pain: a randomised controlled trial.

Nystuen P, Hagen KB - BMC Public Health (2003)

Bottom Line: In the current study we assess the feasibility and effectiveness of offering a voluntary, solution-focused follow-up to sick-listed employees.Even if the information strategy might be improved, it is not likely that a voluntary solution-focused follow-up offered by the social security offices would result in measurable reduction in length of sick leave on a population level.However, the efficacy of a solution-focused follow-up for the persons reporting a need for this approach should be further investigated.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Welfare, Department of Social Services Research, Norway. pal.nystuen@shdir.no

ABSTRACT

Background: Long-term sick leave has been of concern to politicians and decision-makers in Norway for several years. In the current study we assess the feasibility and effectiveness of offering a voluntary, solution-focused follow-up to sick-listed employees.

Methods: Employees on long-term sick leave due to psychological problems or muscle skeletal pain were randomly allocated to be offered a solution-focused follow-up (n = 122) or "treatment as usual" (n = 106). The intervention was integrated within 2 social security offices' regular follow-up. The intervention group was informed about the offer with letters, telephone calls and information meetings. Feasibility was measured by rate of uptake to the intervention, and effectiveness by number of days on sick leave.

Results: In general, few were reached with the different information elements. While the letter was sent to all, only 31% were reached by telephone and 15% attended the information meetings. Thirteen employees (11.5%) in the intervention group participated in the solution-focused follow-up. Intention to treat analysis showed no difference in mean length of sick leave between the intervention group (217 days) and the control group (189 days) (p = 0,101).

Conclusion: Even if the information strategy might be improved, it is not likely that a voluntary solution-focused follow-up offered by the social security offices would result in measurable reduction in length of sick leave on a population level. However, the efficacy of a solution-focused follow-up for the persons reporting a need for this approach should be further investigated.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Trial profile
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Figure 1: Trial profile

Mentions: A standardised procedure was developed to ensure that all the employees who met the inclusion criteria were included and randomised. The two participating social security offices sent participants allocated to the intervention group information about the intervention and an invitation to participate. As a part of the social security offices ordinary follow-up of employees on long-term sick leave (more than 7 weeks), all employees with specified ICPC diagnoses were included in the trial (see table 1). Included persons were given a project-number and listed in two different lists. An anonymous list was sent to the project administrator at our institute when 30 persons were available for intervention. Allocation was then made to "control" or "intervention" by a using a computer-generated randomisation list and the list was returned to the local social security office, ensuring a concealed, random allocation procedure. Originally three social security offices in Oslo agreed to participate in the study. Due to logistic problems and incorrect data registration, one of the involved offices was not able to complete the study. From January to December 2001 a total of 228 persons were included from the two remaining offices (Figure 1).


Feasibility and effectiveness of offering a solution-focused follow-up to employees with psychological problems or muscle skeletal pain: a randomised controlled trial.

Nystuen P, Hagen KB - BMC Public Health (2003)

Trial profile
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC161814&req=5

Figure 1: Trial profile
Mentions: A standardised procedure was developed to ensure that all the employees who met the inclusion criteria were included and randomised. The two participating social security offices sent participants allocated to the intervention group information about the intervention and an invitation to participate. As a part of the social security offices ordinary follow-up of employees on long-term sick leave (more than 7 weeks), all employees with specified ICPC diagnoses were included in the trial (see table 1). Included persons were given a project-number and listed in two different lists. An anonymous list was sent to the project administrator at our institute when 30 persons were available for intervention. Allocation was then made to "control" or "intervention" by a using a computer-generated randomisation list and the list was returned to the local social security office, ensuring a concealed, random allocation procedure. Originally three social security offices in Oslo agreed to participate in the study. Due to logistic problems and incorrect data registration, one of the involved offices was not able to complete the study. From January to December 2001 a total of 228 persons were included from the two remaining offices (Figure 1).

Bottom Line: In the current study we assess the feasibility and effectiveness of offering a voluntary, solution-focused follow-up to sick-listed employees.Even if the information strategy might be improved, it is not likely that a voluntary solution-focused follow-up offered by the social security offices would result in measurable reduction in length of sick leave on a population level.However, the efficacy of a solution-focused follow-up for the persons reporting a need for this approach should be further investigated.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Norwegian Directorate for Health and Social Welfare, Department of Social Services Research, Norway. pal.nystuen@shdir.no

ABSTRACT

Background: Long-term sick leave has been of concern to politicians and decision-makers in Norway for several years. In the current study we assess the feasibility and effectiveness of offering a voluntary, solution-focused follow-up to sick-listed employees.

Methods: Employees on long-term sick leave due to psychological problems or muscle skeletal pain were randomly allocated to be offered a solution-focused follow-up (n = 122) or "treatment as usual" (n = 106). The intervention was integrated within 2 social security offices' regular follow-up. The intervention group was informed about the offer with letters, telephone calls and information meetings. Feasibility was measured by rate of uptake to the intervention, and effectiveness by number of days on sick leave.

Results: In general, few were reached with the different information elements. While the letter was sent to all, only 31% were reached by telephone and 15% attended the information meetings. Thirteen employees (11.5%) in the intervention group participated in the solution-focused follow-up. Intention to treat analysis showed no difference in mean length of sick leave between the intervention group (217 days) and the control group (189 days) (p = 0,101).

Conclusion: Even if the information strategy might be improved, it is not likely that a voluntary solution-focused follow-up offered by the social security offices would result in measurable reduction in length of sick leave on a population level. However, the efficacy of a solution-focused follow-up for the persons reporting a need for this approach should be further investigated.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus