[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the field of healthcare, empowering patients who have a chronic disease is defined as increasing their knowledge and skills, in order to enable them to define their treatment goals and take personal responsibility for their medical treatment. Our goal was to explore the nature of empowerment for employees who have a chronic disease and who experience work-related problems.
We used an explorative qualitative approach to document, from a professional perspective, the experiences of patients who participated in an empowerment training program. The researcher and the three instructors identified several themes which appeared to be important to many participants. These themes were fine-tuned and illustrated using brief case histories.
We identified seven themes and characterized them in terms of employee tasks. These included: (1) developing a realistic understanding of one's abilities, (2) standing up for oneself in a self-confident way, (3) maintaining social relations based on mutual understanding with supervisors and colleagues, (4) collecting and assimilating knowledge of one's options, rights and duties, (5) consulting others and negotiating with regard to work accommodations, (6) planning one's job so as to provide personal satisfaction, and (7) maintaining a social life outside work. Not every employee is faced with all of these tasks, but most have to deal with several.
Empowerment presupposes that employees with a chronic disease can act to solve problems at the workplace. The experiences during a comprehensive empowerment training illustrate that a process of reflection on personal emotions and a cognitive process of exploration and identification of bottlenecks at work may precede these actions. Our primary contribution is the aforementioned list of seven common tasks that many workers have to perform. Disseminating the list can support employees who have a chronic disease and may also be useful for their managers, HRM staff, occupational health and other healthcare workers.
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 08/2009; 19(4):398-408. · 2.80 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Persons with a chronic disease are less often employed than healthy persons. If employed, many of them experience problems at work. Therefore, we developed a training programme aimed at job retention. The objective of this paper is to describe this intervention and to present the design of a study to evaluate its effectiveness. DEVELOPMENT AND DESCRIPTION OF INTERVENTION: A systematic review, a needs assessment and discussions with Dutch experts led to a pilot group training, tested in a pilot study. The evaluation resulted in the development of a seven-session group training combined with three individual counselling sessions. The training is based on an empowerment perspective that aims to help individuals enhance knowledge, skills and self-awareness. These advances are deemed necessary for problem solving in three stages: exploration and clarification of work related problems, communication at the workplace, and development and implementation of solutions. Seven themes are discussed and practised in the group sessions: 1) Consequences of a chronic disease in the workplace, 2) Insight into feelings and thoughts about having a chronic disease, 3) Communication in daily work situations, 4) Facilities for disabled employees and work disability legislation, 5) How to stand up for oneself, 6) A plan to solve problems, 7) Follow-up.
Participants are recruited via occupational health services, patient organisations, employers, and a yearly national conference on chronic diseases. They are eligible when they have a chronic physical medical condition, have a paid job, and experience problems at work. Workers on long-term, 100% sick leave that is expected to continue during the training are excluded. After filling in the baseline questionnaire, the participants are randomised to either the control or the intervention group. The control group will receive no care or care as usual. Post-test mail questionnaires will be sent after 4, 8, 12 and 24 months. Primary outcome measures are job retention, self efficacy, fatigue and work pleasure. Secondary outcome measures are work-related problems, sick leave, quality of life, acquired work accommodations, burnout, and several quality of work measures. A process evaluation will be conducted and satisfaction with the training, its components and the training methods will be assessed.
Many employees with a chronic condition experience problems in performing tasks and in managing social relations at work. We developed an innovative intervention that addresses practical as well as psychosocial problems. The results of the study will be relevant for employees, employers, occupational health professionals and human resource professionals (HRM).
BMC Health Services Research 12/2008; 8:224. · 1.77 Impact Factor