Studies have revealed that having a coordinator and involvement of stakeholders are associated with time-to return-to-work (RTW). The aim of this study was to explore these two aspects together, and the contact between various stakeholders in Rapid-RTW programmes. In addition we examined whether amount of contact-points between the RTW-programme and other stakeholders could impact RTW.
Cohort study following sick-listed employees participating in different Rapid-RTW-programmes (n=39) in Norway. The patients median age was 44 years (min-max. 20-70), 75% were female, and many had higher secondary education (43.5%). The most common diagnoses were musculoskeletal problems (49.6%) and mental health problems (21.1%), and most patients had a history of sickness absence (94.3%).
Patients and service providers both answered self-administered questionnaires, which were linked to register data on sickness absence and diagnoses. Providers reported frequency of contact between the RTW-program and supervisor/employer, general practioner (GP), Community Health, Occupational Health Service (OHS), Social Insurance (called NAV in Norway) and Specialist Health Care. In the analysis, number of contact points by phone, written reports, meetings and workplace visits were summed, and seen per patient. Time to RTW were modelled using the Kaplan-Meier method.
The services that provided a coordinator had significantly more contact with employer and social insurance offices. However, there was no statistically significant difference in RTW by increasing the number of contact points between the RTW programme and any stakeholders.
The RTW-service providers reported that the they had most frequent contact with other stakeholders by telephone (median 2 contact points, min-max. 0-20)(n=246) and written reports (median 2 contact points, min-max. 0-10)(n=407). Of the stakeholders, NAV (median 2 contact points, min-max. 0-14)(n=253), the employer (median 2 contact points, min-max. 0-14) (n=182), and the patient’s GP (median 1 contact points, min-max. 0-5)(n=530) represented most contact points. The Community Health, OHS and Specialist Health Care had a median of 0 contact points.
In this study, the programmes that provided a coordinator had significantly more contact with employer and social insurance offices. Still, there were no statistical difference in RTW by increasing the number of contact points between the RTW service and any stakeholders.