230301 Using the socioecological model as a conceptual framework for early return to work: Challenges,pitfalls, and future directions for occupational health research and practice

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Benjamin Blagogee, MD MPH PhD , Mercy Clinic SOUTH, MERCY HEALTH SYSTEM, Janesville, WI
Francis A. Obuseh, DrPH, MPH, MS , Public Health Division, 436th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, United States Air Force, Dover, DE
INTRODUCTION Occupational injuries with resulting temporary or permanent disability constitute substantial liability and costs to injured worker, family, employer, community, insurance companies, legal and regulatory organizations, and the society. Early return to work (RTW) after injury can alleviate the enormous cost. The multidimensional issues involved in work related injuries make consideration of early return to work with the Socioecological model (SEM). The SEM uses broad ecological perspectives to explain the multidimensional context in which health behavior like early return to work occur after occupational injury. METHOD Literature review and application of socioecological model to show the broad ramification of occupational injuries. RESULT Several previous conceptual frameworks associated with early return to work were reviewed. However, the specific application of the SEM to early return to work was lacking. SEM domains of intrapersonal, interpersonal, community, organization, and regulatory factors is then used to identify, explain, and delineate the impact of these factors on return to work. Areas of possible interventions from the model are emphasized with challenges and pitfalls of such applications outlined. Future directions for research and practice is suggested. CONCLUSION For occupational health research and practice, SEM need to be considered for successful planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of targeted interventions to reduce work injuries, and facilitate early return to work.Such interventions can facilitate the initiation of return to work, sustenance of new work responsibilities, modification of work roles, and enhance quality of life. Ultimately the immense cost of occupational injuries to the society may be reduced.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety
Program planning
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
To identify and demonstrate the socioecological model as a conceptual framework for early return to work associated with occupational work related injuries To describe the broad multidimensional perspective associated with early return to work and occupational related injuries.

Keywords: Occupational Health, Occupational Health Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have professional interest, specialization, and contact with people with occupational injuries.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.