A systematic scoping review of work interventions for hospitalised adults with an acquired neurological impairment
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Purpose Addressing return to work early after neurological impairment from stroke or moderate and severe traumatic brain injury may improve likelihood of returning to employment, yet little is known about how best to organize work interventions for delivery in the inpatient hospital setting. The purpose of this scoping review was to identify knowledge gaps and inform program development in hospital-based work interventions. Method We searched MEDLINE, CINAHL, OTSeeker and Embase for English-language articles published from database inception until March 2018. Citations were then manually searched using reference lists of included papers and Google Scholar. Articles were included if they described programs providing return to work intervention within a hospital to adults with newly acquired neurological conditions, such as traumatic brain injury or stroke. After identifying and selecting relevant studies, we charted the data and then synthesized the results. Results Twenty-eight articles explored work intervention in an inpatient hospital setting. Interventions targeted a diagnostically heterogeneous population, mostly including adults who had suffered either a traumatic brain injury or stroke. Most interventions included a structured process for assessment, highlighted the importance of collaboration, and aimed to improve performance of work skills that could be facilitated within a hospital setting only (as opposed to all work skills). Thematic analysis of included studies resulted in four themes: structure, collaboration, clinician training, and belief in future work capacity. Conclusion Return to work intervention appears to be an important component of neurological rehabilitation. While studies to date have identified enablers for the integration of work interventions into the inpatient hospital setting, there is limited description of specific components of programs, and a lack of studies evaluating program effectiveness.