A multisite randomized controlled trial on time to self-support among sickness absence beneficiaries. The Danish national return-to-work programme

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Maj Britt D. Nielsen, Jørgen Vinsløv Hansen, Birgit Aust, Torill Tverborgvik, Birthe L. Thomsen, Jakob Bue Bjorner, Ole Steen Mortensen, Reiner Rugulies, Glen Winzor, Palle Ørbæk, Trine Helverskov, Nicolai Kristensen, Otto Melchior Poulsen

BACKGROUND: In 2010, the Danish Government launched the Danish national return-to-work (RTW) programme to reduce sickness absence and promote labour market attainment. Multidisciplinary teams delivered the RTW programme, which comprised a coordinated, tailored and multidisciplinary effort (CTM) for sickness absence beneficiaries at high risk for exclusion from the labour market. The aim of this article was to evaluate the effectiveness of the RTW programme on self-support.

METHODS: Beneficiaries from three municipalities (denoted M1, M2 and M3) participated in a randomized controlled trial. We randomly assigned beneficiaries to CTM (M1: n = 598; M2: n = 459; M3: n = 331) or to ordinary sickness absence management (OSM) (M1: n = 393; M2: n = 324; M3: n = 95). We used the Cox proportional hazards model to estimate hazard ratios (HR) comparing rates of becoming self-supporting between beneficiaries receiving CTM and OSM.

RESULTS: In M2, beneficiaries from employment receiving CTM became self-supporting faster compared with beneficiaries receiving OSM (HR = 1.32, 95% CI: 1.08-1.61). In M3, beneficiaries receiving CTM became self-supporting slower than beneficiaries receiving OSM (HR = 0.72, 95% CI: 0.54-0.95). In M1, we found no difference between the two groups (HR = 0.99, 95% CI: 0.84-1.17).

CONCLUSION: The effect of the CTM programme on return to self-support differed substantially across the three participating municipalities. Thus, generalizing the study results to other Danish municipalities is not warranted.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN43004323.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Volume25
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
ISSN1101-1262
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

    Research areas

  • Adult, Denmark, Female, Humans, Male, Proportional Hazards Models, Return to Work, Self Care, Sick Leave

ID: 162709423