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WORK: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment & Rehabilitation is an interdisciplinary, international journal which publishes high quality peer-reviewed manuscripts covering the entire scope of the occupation of work. The journal's subtitle has been deliberately laid out: The first goal is the prevention of illness, injury, and disability. When this goal is not achievable, the attention focuses on assessment to design client-centered intervention, rehabilitation, treatment, or controls that use scientific evidence to support best practice.
WORK occasionally publishes thematic issues, but in general, issues cover a wide range of topics such as ergonomic considerations with children, youth and students, the challenges facing an aging workforce, workplace violence, injury management, performing artists, ergonomic product evaluations, and the awareness of the political, cultural, and environmental determinants of health related to work.
Dr. Karen Jacobs, the founding editor, and her editorial board especially encourage the publication of research studies, clinical practice, case study reports, as well as personal narratives and critical reflections of lived work experiences (autoethnographic/autobiographic scholarship),
Sounding Board commentaries and
Speaking of Research articles which provide the foundation for better understanding research to facilitate knowledge dissemination.
Narrative Reflections on Occupational Transitions, a new column, is for persons who have successfully transitioned into, between, or out of occupations to tell their stories in a narrative form. With an internationally renowned editorial board,
WORK maintains high standards in the evaluation and publication of manuscripts. All manuscripts are reviewed expeditiously and published in a timely manner.
WORK prides itself on being an author-friendly journal.
WORK celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015.
*WORK is affiliated with the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)* *WORK is endorsed by the International Ergonomics Association (IEA)* *WORK gives out the yearly Cheryl Bennett Best Paper Award*
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Frequent computer use is associated with an increase in musculoskeletal complaints. The present study aims at comparing the relative efficacy of three novel interventions for the preventions of musculoskeletal complaints in frequent computer users. PARTICIPANTS: 93 employees (56 woman, 37 men, mean age 40.1 ± 8.8 years) with frequent computer use. METHODS: Participants were assigned on the basis of preference to one of the following interventions of 8 week duration: Nordic Walking (NW),…biofeedback assisted relaxation and stretching (BFB), balance exercises on a wobble board (BAL) or a waiting list control group. Outcome measures were musculoskeletal complaints, emotional well-being, fatigue, job dissatisfaction as well as neuromuscular activity in the neck/shoulder region at rest and during computer work assessed before and after the intervention and at 3 months follow-up. RESULTS: The average number of training-units per week was 2.2 ± 0.8, 5.5 ± 3.5 and 4.1 ± 2.9 for NW, BFB and BAL, respectively. NW led to short and medium term improvement of musculoskeletal complaints, BFB to a short term improvement of musculoskeletal complaints. Effects on the well-being related variables or on neuromuscular activity were not found. BAL had no effect on the studied variables. CONCLUSION: NW and to a limited extent BFB are interventions potentially useful for reducing musculoskeletal complaints in frequent computer users.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to measure clinical change in persons with upper extremity (UE) musculoskeletal conditions and to determine if the Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand (QuickDASH) or the Upper Limb Functional Index (ULFI) was a more responsive outcome tool. The objective was to select one tool that was responsive and practical for the occupational therapy (OT) setting. PARTICIPANTS: Participants were patients (N=27) who had musculoskeletal conditions, were age…18 years or older, and received outpatient OT. METHODS: Participants received standard OT treatment for UE musculoskeletal conditions, completing the ULFI and QuickDASH at evaluation and discharge. RESULTS: Paired t-tests showed significant change of 25.1 points in the QuickDASH and 23.6 points in the ULFI. Work module showed significant change of 26.2 points. CONCLUSIONS: The QuickDASH was a more responsive tool compared to the ULFI. Participants made significant improvements in work performance as measured by the QuickDASH Work Module. Large effect sizes and standardized response means of the QuickDASH and the ULFI change scores showed both tools were responsive outcome measures for individuals with musculoskeletal conditions. Although the QuickDASH was more responsive, therapists preferred the ULFI as an efficient outcome measure with client-centered goals.
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study is to analyze the relationship between the work expectations and experiences of employees who have joined a new organization and have experienced a reality shock as a result of the portrayal of a hyped image of the organization or work/position. It explores discrepancies in the employees' expectations of the world of work and the reality of the organization and work they experience, giving them a reality shock. PARTICIPANTS:…Sixteen IT professionals from two different organizations participated in this study. METHOD: Qualitative data was obtained through in-depth interviews with sixteen participants employed with twodifferent organizations in western India. RESULTS: Discussion with the participants led to the emergence of five different types of shocks experienced by them. They are phony designation, the salary difference, accessibility of benefits, decisive culture and limited scope for career growth. All these shocks lead to the development of the final theme i.e. intentions to leave. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the study findings, there is an imperative that the human resource department and organizational forerunners understand the importance of portraying a realistic image of the organization, nature of the job and future career prospects and counseling to new entrants of the organization.
Keywords: Applicant, hyped image, Information technology, phenomenology, qualitative, recruiter
Abstract: In Quebec (Canada), home health aides are gradually being involved in choosing bathing equipment for community-dwelling clients with bathing difficulties, a task traditionally performed by occupational therapists. OBJECTIVE: This article explores the support home health aides want in assuming this clinical task. PARTICIPANTS: Three home health aides having previously intervened with clients with bathing difficulties. METHODS: Home health aides were first observed while performing an assessment, followed by an in-depth individual interview.…RESULTS: Results indicate that participants wish to be trained to acquire further knowledge about bathing equipment and learn to use a tool that would guide and document their observations. They sought partnership with a designated occupational therapist, who would be available to answer questions and assess clients with a complex clinical situation. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that needs of home health aides are not currently met and highlight clinical as well as organizational implications.
Keywords: Skill mix, professional assistant, bath, assistive devices, decision-making
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify atherosclerotic risk using pulse wave velocity (PWV) in steel workers employed in different shift-work rotations, and to elucidate its relationship to social jetlag and shift schedule details. PARTICIPANTS: Male workers in a steel factory (n=77, 32 fast clockwise (CW), 30 slow counterclockwise (CC), 15 day workers (DW); mean age 42 ± SD 7.6 yrs) with at least 5 years of experience in their current work…schedule participated. METHODS: All workers completed questionnaires on demographics, health, psychotropic agents, sleep, social and work life, social jetlag (difference between mid-sleep time on workdays and days off used as a marker of circadian disruption) and chronotype (mid-sleep time on free days corrected for sleep deficit on workdays). In 63 workers we measured PWV, blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR) between 08:00 and 12:30 h in controlled posture conditions (no caffeine/smoking/exercise). RESULTS: There was no significant difference in PWV (covariates: age, BP) between the different shift-rotations (CW, CC and DW). In all workers combined, HR and social jetlag were significantly positively correlated. Demographic variables did not differ between shift-workers and day workers; shift-workers (CW, CC) reported significantly more stomach upsets, digestion problems, weight fluctuations, and social jetlag. The CW and CC workers did not differ in ratings of how shift-work affected sleep, social and work life. CONCLUSIONS: PWV was not different between the two shift-rotations. This pilot study shows first evidence that HR is related to social jetlag, and therefore warrants more studies in different shift schedules.
Abstract: High rates of work related musculoskeletal discomfort (WRMSD) associated with long-hours of computer work are considered a significant occupational health problem. However, to date few training programs aim to develop the multidisciplinary skills required for self-management of WRMSD risk factors. This paper seeks to provide a background to, and illustrate the significance of, this issue. Management strategies, training elements and methods recommended within the literature to build the required work skills for…increased self-management of WRMSD are discussed. The inclusion of two case studies investigating the impact of training methods on levels of WRMSD illustrates how the application of new training strategies may improve WRMSD outcomes. The first case-study trialling a pre-existing office ergonomic checklist revealed training improved knowledge and awareness, but failed to change work behaviours or effect levels of WRMSD. The second case study investigated the impact of training providing additional knowledge and demonstrating 'how-to' apply recommendations at the workstation. Outcomes of this skill-based program included the collaborative development of training elements, increased trainee engagement, and a significant reduction in reported levels of WRMSD. These findings suggest training designed to develop multidisciplinary work skills or competencies may be a strategy for the management of occupational musculoskeletal discomfort amongst computer operators.
Keywords: Ergonomics, action research (AR), work competencies, work related musculoskeletal discomfort (WRMSD)
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Occupational low back pain (LBP) is considered to be the most expensive form of work disability, with the socioeconomic costs of persistent LBP exceeding the costs of acute and subacute LBP by far. This makes the early identification of patients at risk of developing persistent LBP essential, especially in working populations. The aim of the study was to evaluate both risk factors (for the development of persistent LBP) and protective factors (preventing the development of…persistent LBP) in the same cohort. PARTICIPANTS: An inception cohort of 315 patients with acute to subacute or with recurrent LBP was recruited from 14 health practitioners (twelve general practitioners and two physiotherapists) across New Zealand. METHODS: Patients with persistent LBP at six-month follow-up were compared to patients with non-persistent LBP looking at occupational, psychological, biomedical and demographic/lifestyle predictors at baseline using multiple logistic regression analyses. All significant variables from the different domains were combined into a one predictor model. RESULTS: A final two-predictor model with an overall predictive value of 78% included social support at work (OR 0.67; 95%CI 0.45 to 0.99) and somatization (OR 1.08; 95%CI 1.01 to 1.15). CONCLUSIONS: Social support at work should be considered as a resource preventing the development of persistent LBP whereas somatization should be considered as a risk factor for the development of persistent LBP. Further studies are needed to determine if addressing these factors in workplace interventions for patients suffering from acute, subacute or recurrent LBP prevents subsequent development of persistent LBP.
Abstract: Objective: This qualitative study explored self-reports of hazards and discomforts in the workplace and coping strategies among those choosing to work beyond the age of 65 years. Participants: 30 people aged 66–91 years took part. Most worked part-time in professional or administrative roles. Methods: Each participant engaged in one semi-structured interview. Results: Participants described some hazards and discomforts in their current work, but no recent accidents. The main age-related discomfort was tiredness.…Other hazards that recurred in participants' accounts were physical demands of the job, driving, and interpersonal difficulties such as client or customer complaints, and in very rare cases, bullying. Most work-related hazards (e.g. prolonged sitting at computers, lifting heavy items and driving) were thought likely to affect any worker regardless of age. Coping strategies included making adaptations to age-related changes (such as decreased stamina) by keeping fit and being open about difficulties to colleagues, reducing hours of work, altering roles at work, limiting driving, applying expertise derived from previous work experiences, being assertive, using authority and status, and (among the minority employed in larger organisations) making use of supportive company/organisational policies and practices. Conclusions: Participants described taking individual responsibility for managing hazards at work and perceived little or no elevation of risk linked to age.
Keywords: Older people, safety at work, safety practices, coping
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: This study examined outcomes of the first four years (2005–2009) of the Bridge Program, an occupational therapy (OT) program that incorporates principles of supported education and supported employment. This program was developed to assist individuals with mental illness to achieve higher education and employment goals. PARTICIPANTS: Forty-eight adult participants with various mental health diagnoses. METHODS: A quantitative one-group pretest-posttest survey design and posttest qualitative focus groups were used. RESULTS:…Participants enrolled in higher education increased from 7 to 11 (pretest=15%; posttest=23%), participants employed increased from 5 to 19 (pretest=10%; posttest=40%), and the combined category of higher education/employment increased from 12 to 30 (pretest=25%; posttest=63%) Statistical significance was achieved from pre to posttest in the employment sample (p<0.000), and in the combined sample of higher education/employment (p< 0.000), but was not achieved in the higher education sample from pre to posttest (p=0.125). CONCLUSIONS: Quantitative and qualitative results support that an OT program incorporating principles of supported education and employment can assist individuals with mental illness to achieve higher education and employment goals. Results also outlined items participants found to be supports and barriers to achieving goals.