Published: 26-02-2019 17:12 | Updated: 26-02-2019 17:12

New thesis: Return to work: exploring paths toward work after spinal cord injury and designing a rehabilitation intervention

Lisa Holmlund

Hi Lisa Holmlund, PhD-student at the Division of Occuptional therapy. On 15 March you will defend your thesis "Return to work: exploring paths toward work after spinal cord injury and designing a rehabilitation intervention", what's the main focus of the thesis?

The thesis focuses on return to work after spinal cord injury. Through following the Medical Research Councils’ guidance for developing and evaluating complex interventions this thesis generate knowledge on return to work after spinal cord injury. In collaboration with the stakeholders involved in the return to work process, this knowledge is used to design and evaluate the feasibility of a complex intervention that can serve as a complement to the current return to work system in Sweden.

Which are the most important results?

The findings illustrate how the return to work process is situated within the person’s everyday life situation and context. The return to work process was experienced as fragmented to the person and difficult to navigate for the professional stakeholders involved. The rehabilitation intervention, ReWork-SCI, was feasible, although modifications are necessary before a full-scale trial. Potentially active components of ReWork-SCI were: coordination based in a SCI rehabilitation unit, a non-linear structure initiated through a person-centred approach and mapping, and dialogue with the employer.

How can this new knowledge contribute to the improvement of people’s health?

Work is a large part of an adult persons everyday life. Meaningful participation in work can contribute to a person health and sense of structure and meaning in everyday life. Work is also an important for economic self-sufficiency, access, and platform in society. The development and evaluation of ReWork-SCI can contribute to improve quality in the return to work process after SCI.

What´s in the future for you? Will you keep on conducting research?

I will continue with a combination of research, teaching at KI, and clinical work in the regional rehabilitation center for persons with spinal cord injury in Stockholm. The research will initially focus on analyzing data from interviews with the persons involved in Re-Wok SCI and their employers. I hope to be able to evaluate the effect of ReWork-SCI in a full-scale trial in the future.