Designing an intervention process that embeds work-focussed interventions within inpatient rehabilitation: An intervention mapping approach

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Australian Occupational Therapy Journal






School of Medical and Health Sciences




Transport Accident Commission

Australian Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship


O’Keefe, S., Stanley, M., Sansonetti, D., Schneider, E. J., Kras, M., Morarty, J., & Lannin, N. A. (2020). Designing an intervention process that embeds work‐focussed interventions within inpatient rehabilitation: An intervention mapping approach. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 68(1), 65-77. https://doi.org/10.1111/1440-1630.12705


© 2020 Occupational Therapy Australia Introduction: Returning to work is a goal for many people after brain injury. The failure to return to work after injury brings both economic and personal (quality of life) costs to those living with stroke or brain injury, their families, and society. This study explored the barriers to providing work-focused interventions during hospital-based rehabilitation and co-created solutions with rehabilitation providers to increase the provision of work-focused intervention during inpatient rehabilitation. Methods: This study used an Intervention Mapping approach (a six-step protocol that guides the design of complex interventions) based on an action research methodology. Focus group data, in addition to best evidence from systematic reviews, practice guidelines and key articles were combined with theoretical models for changing behaviour and clinician experience. This was then systematically operationalised into an intervention process using consensus among clinicians. The process was further refined through piloting and feedback from key stakeholders, and group consensus on the final process. Results: A detailed five phase return to work intervention process for inpatient rehabilitation was developed. The key features of the process include; having one key allied health clinician to coordinate the process, choosing assessments based on pre-injury work demands, emphasising the importance of core work skills and considering the most appropriate service for referral at the conclusion of rehabilitation. Conclusion: We used a systematic approach, guided by the intervention mapping approach and behaviour change theory to tailor existing workfocused interventions to the inpatient setting.



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