How to measure sickness absence? Literature review and suggestion of five basic measures.
ABSTRACT To examine different sick-leave measures used in sickness absence research, and to suggest a systematic way of assessing sickness absence.
A review and analysis of five major studies on sick-leave performed 1983-1988 with an epidemiological approach.
Terminology and measures used varied in the different studies reviewed. The choice of a certain measure was seldom discussed in relation to the aim of the study. Based on the review five measures are suggested: frequency, length, incidence rate, cumulative incidence and duration. The definition of incidence rate is new and is a measure useful in studies of recurrent events within epidemiology.
We have reviewed sick-leave measures previously used in the literature and suggested five basic measures for assessing sick-leave.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Long-term sickness absence is high in many Western countries. In Sweden and many other countries, decisions on entitlement to sickness benefits and return to work measures are based on information provided by physicians in sickness certificates. The quality demands, as stressed by the Swedish sick leave guidelines from 2008, included accurate sickness certificates with assessment of functioning clearly documented. This study aims to compare quality of sickness certificates between 2007 and 2009 in Ostergotland County, Sweden. Quality is defined in terms of descriptions of functioning with the use of activity and participation according to WHO's International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), and in prescriptions of early rehabilitation. METHODS: During two weeks in 2007 and four weeks in 2009, all certificates had been collected upon arrival to the social insurance office in Ostergotland County, Sweden. Four hundred seventy-five new certificates were included in 2007 and 501 in 2009. Prolongations of sick leave were included until the last date of sick listing. Free text on functioning was analysed deductively using the ICF framework, and placed into categories (body functions/structures, activity, participation, no description) for statistical analysis. RESULTS: The majority of the certificates were issued for musculoskeletal diseases or mental disorders. Text on functioning could be classified into the components of ICF in 65% and 78% of sickness certificates issued in 2007 and 2009, respectively. Descriptions according to body components such as "sensations of pain" or "emotional functions" were given in 58% of the certificates from 2007 and in 65% from 2009. The activity component, for example "walking" or "handling stress", was more frequent in certificates issued in 2009 compared with 2007 (33% versus 26%). Prescriptions of early rehabilitation increased from 27% in 2007 to 35% in 2009, primarily due to more counseling. CONCLUSIONS: An improvement of the quality between certificates collected in 2007 and 2009 was demonstrated in Ostergotland County, Sweden. The certificates from 2009 provided more information linkable to ICF and incorporated an increased use of activity limitations when describing patients' functioning. Still, activity limitations and prescriptions of early rehabilitation were only present in one-third of the sickness certificates.BMC Public Health 10/2012; 12(1):907. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Return to work (RTW) after long-term sick leave can be a long-lasting process where the individual may shift between work and receiving different social security benefits, as well as between part-time and full-time work. This is a challenge in the assessment of RTW outcomes after rehabilitation interventions. The aim of this study was to analyse the probability for RTW, and the probabilities of transitions between different benefits during a 4-year follow-up, after participating in a work-related rehabilitation program. METHODS: The sample consisted of 584 patients (66% females), mean age 44 years (sd = 9.3). Mean duration on various types of sick leave benefits at entry to the rehabilitation program was 9.3 months (sd = 3.4)]. The patients had mental (47%), musculoskeletal (46%), or other diagnoses (7%). Official national register data over a 4-year follow-up period was analysed. Extended statistical tools for multistate models were used to calculate transition probabilities between the following eight states; working, partial sick leave, full-time sick leave, medical rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation, and disability pension; (partial, permanent and time-limited). RESULTS: During the follow-up there was an increased probability for working, a decreased probability for being on sick leave, and an increased probability for being on disability pension. The probability of RTW was not related to the work and benefit status at departure from the rehabilitation clinic. The patients had an average of 3.7 (range 0--18) transitions between work and the different benefits. CONCLUSIONS: The process of RTW or of receiving disability pension was complex, and may take several years, with multiple transitions between work and different benefits. Access to reliable register data and the use of a multistate RTW model, makes it possible to describe the developmental nature and the different levels of the recovery and disability process.BMC Public Health 09/2012; 12(1):748. · 2.08 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Objective. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a major public health problem in the Western world. No previous population-based nationwide study has, however, examined the occurrence of sickness absence due to GERD diagnoses, that is, the aim of this study. Material and methods. Nationwide population-based study based on Swedish registers including all 4,764,843 individuals registered as living in Sweden in 31 December 2004 and 31 December 2005, aged 20-64 years, not on disability or old age pension. Reimbursed sickness absence due to reflux diagnoses (ICD-10), that is, GERD (K21), esophagitis (K20), and heartburn (R12), was studied separately and combined. In analyses stratified by sociodemographic factors, inpatient/specialized outpatient care, antireflux surgery, and prescribed reflux medications those sickness absent in 2005 due to reflux diagnoses were compared to those sickness absent due to non-reflux diagnoses and to those with no sickness benefits 2005. Results. In total, 627 individuals had at least one prevalent sick-leave spell due to reflux diagnoses in 2005, of which GERD was the most common diagnosis. Of these, almost half (45%) was absent for ≥ 28 reimbursed sick-leave days due to reflux diagnoses. The proportions of low socioeconomic status (SES), inpatient and outpatient care due to tumors, mental disorders, circulatory disorders, GERD, antireflux surgery, and reflux medications were higher among those sickness absent due to reflux diagnoses compared to those with no sickness benefits. Conclusions. In this nationwide population-based study a high proportion of those sickness absent due to reflux diagnoses was on long-term sick leave, a finding that warrants attention.Scandinavian journal of gastroenterology 11/2012; · 2.08 Impact Factor