August/September 2008 (vol. 05/2)

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Research Plus

Early intervention

A randomised controlled trial on financial workers in the Netherlands demonstrates the value of targeted early intervention by an OH professional. A total of 299 employees identified using a validated questionnaire as being at high risk for long-term sickness absence were randomised to one of two groups: structured early consultation with the occupational physician before sickness absence; or follow-up in a control group receiving ‘usual care’. The early consultation included an explanation of the relationship between symptoms and risk of future absence and the benefits of early treatment, and, where appropriate, a targeted intervention. In a one-year follow-up, both sickness absence duration (p = 0.007) and proportion of spells lasting more than 28 days (p = 0.048) were significantly lower in the intervention group.

Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 2008; 18: 79–86.


Occupational Health at Work August/September 2008 (vol. 05/2) pp38