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Work ability meetings—a survey of Finnish occupational physicians

06 Sep 2018

AbstractBackgroundWork ability meetings (WAMs) are planned discussions between an employee, a manager and an occupational physician (OP) to support work ability and return to work (RTW). During the last decade, WAMs become a popular intervention in Finnish occupational healthcare, although research on their content is lacking.AimsTo describe the practice of WAMs in Finland.MethodsWe sent an internet survey by e-mail to members of the Finnish Society of Occupational Health Physicians in August 2014. We asked them to describe the last WAM they had attended, the employee the meeting concerned, the reason why it was convened, the content of the meeting and the action plan developed.ResultsA total of 303 of 1304 OPs responded (24%) to the survey. The meetings were most often arranged for employees in manual or clerical work (71%). There were several overlapping reasons for convening a WAM, including a worker’s reduced work ability (57%), functional ability (42%) or long-term sickness absence (38%). The meetings consisted of RTW planning, clarification of the situation and a dialogue between the three parties. In half of the cases, the action plans dealt with modifications of work tasks. A third of cases were forwarded to vocational rehabilitation, while permanent disability pension was considered in 6% of cases.ConclusionsThe focus of WAMs was on workplace adjustments to support workers to remain at work. The WAMs dealt mostly with early interventions for RTW: work modifications, adjustments and vocational rehabilitation.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Occupational Medicine