Supporting workers with lower back injuries to return to work: a meta-ethnography

Rebecca Robart, Paul Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction
Lower back injuries can prevent people from engaging in the occupation of work, which is considered to be beneficial to physical and mental wellbeing. Return-to-work programmes aim to support people to re-engage with work; however, the success of these can be varied. The aim of this review was to explore what factors facilitated a return to work for those in employment, and what the factors may be in preventing others from making a successful return to work.

Method
A systematic search of the literature identified 10 qualitative research studies, and a meta-ethnographic approach was then used to critique and synthesise the findings to provide a line of argument.

Findings
Interrogation of the selected studies brought about three third-order interpretations as follows: enabling injured workers to return to work safely; challenging negative assumptions; overcoming organisational barriers.

Conclusion
The study supports previous findings that emphasise consideration of wider organisational and psychosocial factors relating to supporting people to return to work, rather than focusing solely on the injured worker. Suggestions are made for the modification of current work practices, the need for a strength-based approach to rehabilitation and for occupational therapists who might work with people living with back pain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe British Journal of Occupational Therapy
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Low Back Pain
  • Return to work
  • Pscyhosocial
  • Psychological phenomena
  • Musculoskeletal system

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