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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: BACKGROUND: Young adults with disabilities often use assistive technology (AT) to address personal needs, engage in communities and pursue educational and vocational goals. Little is known about their personal experiences and challenges of accessing and using AT for productivity-related activities. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to learn from young adults about their experiences and use of AT in supporting their productivity. METHODS: Using a qualitative approach, 20 young adult AT users engaged in semi-structured interviews and a photovoice process. Data were analysed inductively. RESULTS: Three primary themes were identified: I Have to Figure it out…Myself, With the Right AT, and Relational Aspects of AT Use. Although participants were experienced AT users, they were often left alone to figure out their emerging needs. They relied on AT to participate in productivity pursuits however stigma around AT use in unsupportive work environments were new concerns. CONCLUSIONS: Young adults with disabilities draw on their experiences of AT use but may need to develop advocacy skills to ensure their needs are met in productivity-related environments. Employers and supervisors should recognize AT as essential to young adult’s engagement with productivity-related activities and have an important role in developing inclusive work environments.
Abstract: Telehealth approaches to delivering ergonomics assessment hold great potential to improve service delivery in rural and remote settings. This case study describes a telehealth-based ergonomics service delivery process, and compares in-person and telehealth-based ergonomics approaches at an Alberta-based non-profit advocacy group. This project demonstrates that telehealth approaches to ergonomics do not lead to significantly different scoring outcomes for assessment of ergonomics issues, when compared to in-person assessments. This project also outlines the importance of live real-time video conferencing to improving communication, attaining key assessment information, and demonstrating ergonomic adjustments. However, some key considerations of bandwidth and hardware capabilities need to…be taken into account. Key communication strategies are outlined to improve rapport, maintain employee confidentiality, and reduce client anxiety around telehealth ergonomics assessments. This project provides further support for telehealth approaches to office ergonomics, and outlines some key implementation strategies and barriers that should be considered.
Keywords: Ergonomics, telehealth, rural and remote, workplace assessment, field study
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Pre-Employment Functional Assessments (PEFA) are increasingly used in an attempt to obtain objective information on a potential employee’s functional capabilities. In rural and remote communities, there is typically reduced access to qualified therapists to perform these assessments, in part attributable to the time and costs associated with travelling to training courses. One potential method of providing the relevant training to conduct PEFAs is through the use of technologies such as videoconferencing or internet-based modules. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this project is to investigate the effectiveness of training therapists and therapy students in performing JobFit System PEFAs via…technology when compared with a face-to-face control group. METHODS: Fifty-three participants, consisting of 28 professional physiotherapists and occupational therapists, and 25 final year University of Queensland (UQ) physiotherapy and occupational therapy students, underwent JobFit Systems International PEFA training via one of four intervention groups: face-to-face, realtime videoconferencing, group-based online module and individual online module. RESULTS: Of the 53 participants, 49 achieved the minimum competency level of 75% in post-training competency assessments. No significant difference was found in training levels between intervention groups. CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study suggest that technology, such as real-time videoconference and online learning modules, can be used to train both therapists and students in how to perform JobFit System PEFAs.
Abstract: Census data plays an important role in informing a Government’s policies and priorities. In the Republic of Ireland census data from 1986 onwards is available online. For this article variables pertaining to work, specifically the non-labour force variable, were analysed. While we found a linear decline from 47.16% in 1986 to 38.14% in 2011 this had not occurred in all categories of non-labour force work; the “unable to work due to permanent sickness or disability” group increased from 6.84% to 11.41%, a 66% rise. This occurred in spite of legislation and services being put in place to assist people with…disabilities to re-enter the workforce. US data also indicates a rise in the number of people with disabilities in the non-labour force work category. Why this is occurring is a complex question, determining if similar trends are evident within census data in other countries would assist in answering it.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Participatory methodologies in disability and rehabilitation research are used to capture the perspectives of people with disabilities and to recognize the agency of stakeholder groups. Existing resources for conducting systematic reviews seldom provide details about how to integrate stakeholder input into the methodological process. OBJECTIVES: This article considers how knowledge translation strategies can support and advance systematic reviews that include diverse types of research. METHODS: Lessons learned from conducting a systematic review of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) employment research are explained and contextualized within research on barriers and facilitators to successful knowledge translation.…RESULTS: Steps from the research protocol are described to provide a procedural framework for integrating stakeholder feedback into the review process. Descriptive mapping, an analytical technique most commonly used in scoping reviews, was deemed necessary to provide a clearer understanding and overview of the diverse body of research evidence. CONCLUSIONS: Stakeholder feedback can address barriers to knowledge translation by engaging end-users of research products throughout the review process. Given the growing scholarly recognition of qualitative and mixed-methods techniques as suitable approaches for systematic review, there is further need for consideration on how these approaches can benefit from more participatory research processes.
Keywords: Knowledge Translation, ADA, research methods, meta-synthesis, meta-ethnography
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The Work Role Functioning Questionnaire (WRFQ) was developed to assess workers’ perceived ability to perform job demands and is used to monitor presenteeism. Still few studies on its validity can be found in the literature. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the items and factorial composition of the Canadian French version of the WRFQ (WRFQ-CF). METHODS: Two measurement approaches were used to test the WRFQ-CF: Classical Test Theory (CTT) and non-parametric Item Response Theory (IRT). RESULTS: A total of 352 completed questionnaires were analyzed. A four-factor and three-factor model models…were tested and shown respectively good fit with 14 items (Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) = 0.06, Standardized Root Mean Square Residual (SRMR) = 0.04, Bentler Comparative Fit Index (CFI) = 0.98) and with 17 items (RMSEA = 0.059, SRMR = 0.048, CFI = 0.98). Using IRT, 13 problematic items were identified, of which 9 were common with CTT. CONCLUSIONS: This study tested different models with fewer problematic items found in a three-factor model. Using a non-parametric IRT and CTT for item purification gave complementary results. IRT is still scarcely used and can be an interesting alternative method to enhance the quality of a measurement instrument. More studies are needed on the WRFQ-CF to refine its items and factorial composition.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Occupational therapists (OTs) work in all areas of health and wellbeing. The work is physically and psychologically demanding, but OTs are often not diligent about recognizing and attending to the workplace health and safety issue of fatigue in their own work settings. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this paper is to determine current issues and the evidence-base as presented in the literature so as to develop awareness and best practice interventions for fatigue reduction and management in occupational therapists’ workplace. METHODS: A comprehensive search strategy was carried out by the medical librarian on the study team…and themes were extracted from the relevant literature by the study team. RESULTS: The literature revealed little research directly addressing occupational therapy workplace fatigue and we expanded our review of the evidence-base across all healthcare workers to identify publications of particular relevance to occupational therapists. CONCLUSION: This background paper is an important first step to raising awareness among OTs, guide key stakeholders regarding contributing factors to, and consequences of, OTs’ workplace fatigue, and set research direction. Knowing which factors influencing workplace fatigue are shared across healthcare professionals and which are unique to OTs can also help organizations develop more tailored workplace fatigue risk reduction programs. This review concludes with a list of existing guidelines and tools for developing workplace fatigue risk assessment and management programs relevant to occupational therapists.
Keywords: Work-related injury, burnout, psychological health, occupation, healthcare professional
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The traditional design of fabric cutting scissors frequently causes excessive ulnar deviation of the wrist which, together with repetitive and long-term use of the tool, may contribute to the development of musculoskeletal problems, particularly in the upper extremities. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare a new bent-handle fabric scissors with a traditional one. METHODS: The study investigated the effects of a new bent-handle fabric scissors on several hand performance capabilities (hand dexterity, pinch grip strength, wrist postures and hand/finger discomfort) and tool’s usability (using System Usability Scale – SUS) and compared it…against the effects of traditional design. RESULTS: The results indicated that the bent-handle fabric scissors was superior to the traditional design as it resulted in more neutral wrist deviation, higher usability scores and less hand/finger discomfort ratings. No significant difference was found between the two designs with regard to the hand dexterity and strength exertions. CONCLUSIONS: The findings provide evidence that the ergonomic principle of “bending the tool, not the wrist” can perhaps be employed advantageously for the design of fabric cutting scissors to reduce wrist deviations and discomfort and to improve the tool’s usability.
Keywords: Hand tools, tool handle, bent handle, fabric cutting scissors