||Franche, R. L., Cullen, K., Clarke, J., Irvin, E., Sinclair, S., & Frank, J., (2005). Workplace-based return-to-work interventions: A systematic review of the quantitative literature. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 15(4), 607-631.
Background: Return-to-work (RTW) interventions are designed to assist individuals with disabling conditions such as musculoskeletal or other pain-related illnesses return to employment after an extended absence.
Objectives: To review the effectiveness of workplace based RTW interventions.
Search strategy: The authors searched electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, PsychINFO, Sociological Abstracts, ASSIA, and ABI) for relevant articles, published between January 1990 and December 2003. Grey literature and reference lists of articles were also searched. Articles in English and French were considered for the review.
Selection criteria: The authors selected articles that include: 1) workers who were off work due to pain related condition, workers compensation, or musculoskeletal condition, 2) a RTW intervention provided by the workplace, insurance company or healthcare provider, and 3) work, cost, and quality of life outcome measures. The authors excluded case studies and interventions with no relationship to the workplace. Qualitative research studies were collected, but not included in the systematic review.
Data collection and analysis: Nine methodological criteria were developed by the authors to assess the selected studies. Three senior researchers ensured the quality appraisal and consistency on interpretation.
Main results: The authors identified 4124 articles. 65 studies met the initial inclusion criteria. 10 quantitative studies met the quality appraisal criteria. Evidence is summarized for six workplace intervention components (early contact with the worker by the workplace, ergonomic work site visits, RTW coordinator, workplace accommodation offer, contact between healthcare provider and the workplace, supernumerary replacements).
Conclusions: The systematic review provides support that five workplace based RTW interventions can reduce work disability duration and associated costs. There was less evidence to support that RTW interventions impact quality-of-life outcome measures.