Occupational health care return-to-work practices for workers with job burnout
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CitationKärkkäinen, Riitta. Saaranen, Terhi. Räsänen, Kimmo. (2018). Occupational health care return-to-work practices for workers with job burnout. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, [Published online: 23 Feb 2018], 10.1080/11038128.2018.1441322.
Background: Occupational health care supports return to work in cases of burnout; however, there is little research on return-to-work practices.
Aim: To describe occupational health care return-to-work practices for workers with burnout and to identify potential for the development of the practices.
Methods: Open-ended interviews and essays were used to collect data from 25 occupational health care professionals. A qualitative content analysis method was used.
Results: Occupational health care was involved in the return-to-work support in the off-work, work re-entry and maintenance phases during the return-to-work process. However, occupational health care had no influence in the advancement phase. The key return-to-work actions were: (i) defining burnout, (ii) supporting disengagement from work, (iii) supporting recovery, (iv) determining the return-to-work goal, (v) supporting re-engagement with work, (vi) monitoring the job–person match, (vii) re-evaluating the return-to-work goal, (viii) supporting the maintenance of the achieved return-to-work goal, and, where appropriate, (ix) supporting an alternative return-to-work goal. There were varied return-to-work practices among the occupational health care centers evaluated.
Conclusions: The occupational health care return-to-work practices for workers with burnout are described with recommendations to further develop common practice guidelines.