Background: Historically the supports available to help injured workers transition back to pre-injury jobs focused primarily on the medical treatment of the injury and modifications in the workplace. However, for many injured workers, with chronic disabilities, the need for support extends to learning to live with newly exposed disabilities, managing changes within family and social life as well as meeting new expectations in claims and health management. Supports that many injured workers require to resume employment are not adequately addressed. Objective: A critical social perspective was used to engage a partnership with injured worker group members in the design, implementation and evaluation of injured worker needs to promote social change. This paper reflects a program of research established in partnership with the Canadian Injured Worker Alliance to develop and examine a conceptual framework of supports for use in meeting the transitional needs of injured workers with chronic disabilities. Occupational and educational perspectives were used to develop a conceptual framework comprised of 8 dimensions of support. Method: A regional needs assessment using multi-methods, including surveys, interviews and focus groups, was conducted in British Columbia (BC). Priorities of three stakeholder groups were mapped to the 8 dimensions of support. This conceptual framework was also tested nationally to evaluate the distribution of supports that exist and identify further needs for support to help injured workers manage multiple transitions. Findings: Access to the range of supports that injured workers need in transitioning to and from work is inconsistent and inequitable across Canada. Conclusion: Collaborative approaches and a broader spectrum of resources and supports are needed to help injured workers and their families in resuming meaningful participation in daily, social and productive occupations.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/drlynn/49/