Journal of rehabilitation medicine 49(2) 170-177 doi 10.2340/16501977-2188
Mental illness and chronic pain are common reasons for long-term sick leave, typically more so for women. This study investigated the effects on return to work of 2 vocational rehabilitation programmes.
In this randomized controlled study, 308 women were allocated to treatment with acceptance and commitment therapy, to multidisciplinary assessment and individualized rehabilitation interventions, or to a control group. Return-to-work at 12 months was assessed as: (i) returning to health insurance; (ii) number of reimbursed health insurance days during follow-up; (iii) self-reported change in working hours; (iv) a composite measure of self-reported change in work-related engagement.
The mean age of the Swedish study population was 48.5 years (standard deviation (SD) 6.3 years) and the mean time on sick leave 7.5 years (SD 3.2 years). There were no significant differences in reimbursed days or returning to the health insurance at 12 months. The multidisciplinary assessment and individualized rehabilitation interventions group, compared with control, reported a significant increase in working hours per week, as well as a significant increase in work-related engagement.
Multidisciplinary assessments and individual rehabilitation interventions may improve the chance of return-to-work in women with long-term sick leave due to pain condition or mental illness.