Implementing a collaborative return-to-work program: lessons from a qualitative study in a large Canadian healthcare organization

Skivington, K. , Lifshen, M. and Mustard, C. (2016) Implementing a collaborative return-to-work program: lessons from a qualitative study in a large Canadian healthcare organization. Work, 55(3), pp. 613-624. (doi: 10.3233/WOR-162437) (PMID:27792035) (PMCID:PMC5147494)

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BACKGROUND: Comprehensive workplace return-to-work policies, applied with consistency, can reduce length of time out of work and the risk of long-term disability. This paper reports on the findings from a qualitative study exploring managers’ and return-to-work-coordinators’ views on the implementation of their organization’s new return-to-work program. OBJECTIVES: To provide practical guidance to organizations in designing and implementing return-to-work programs for their employees. METHODS: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were undertaken with 20 managers and 10 return-to-work co-ordinators to describe participants’ perspectives on the progress of program implementation in the first 18 months of adoption. The study was based in a large healthcare organization in Ontario, Canada. Thematic analysis of the data was conducted. RESULTS: We identified tensions evident in the early implementation phase of the organization’s return-to-work program. These tensions were attributed to uncertainties concerning roles and responsibilities and to circumstances where objectives or principles appeared to be in conflict. CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of a comprehensive and collaborative return-to-work program is a complex challenge. The findings described in this paper may provide helpful guidance for organizations embarking on the development and implementation of a return-to-work program.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Skivington, Dr Kathryn
Authors: Skivington, K., Lifshen, M., and Mustard, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Work
Publisher:IOS Press
ISSN (Online):1875-9270
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 IOS Press and the authors.
First Published:First published in Work: 55(3): 613-624
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
620221MRC SPHSU/GU Transfer FellowshipsLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_PC_13027IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
656631Neighbourhoods and HealthAnne EllawayMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/8IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU