Primary Healthcare Professionals' Experiences of the Sick Leave Process: A Focus Group Study in Sweden
2013 (English)In: Journal of occupational rehabilitation, ISSN 1053-0487, E-ISSN 1573-3688, Vol. 23, no 3, 450-461 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Purpose The aim of this study was to explore primary healthcare (PHC) professionals' experiences of the sick leave process. Methods This is an explorative study using data from four semi-structured focus group discussions with a purposeful sample of PHC professionals in A-stergotland County, Sweden. Content analysis with an inductive approach was used in the analysis. Results Four key themes emerged from the analysis; priority to the sick leave process, handling sickness certifications, collaboration within PHC and with other stakeholders, and work ability assessments. Patients' need for sick leave was handled from each professional group's perspective. Collaboration was considered important, but difficult to achieve and all the competencies available at the PHC centre were not used for work ability assessments. There was insufficient knowledge of patients' work demands and contact with an employer was rare, and the strained relationship with the social insurance officers affected the collaboration. Conclusions This study highlights the challenges physicians and other PHC professionals face when handling the need for sick leave, especially when encountering patients with symptom-based diagnoses, and the influence of non-medical factors. Hindrances to good practice were increased demands, collaboration, and role responsibility. The challenges in the sick leave process concerned both content and consequences related to poor collaboration within PHC and with representatives from various organizations, primarily employers and social insurance officers. Further research on how to develop a professional approach for handling the sick leave process is needed.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER/PLENUM PUBLISHERS , 2013. Vol. 23, no 3, 450-461 p.
Sick leave, Work ability, Rehabilitation, Return to work, Physicians, Healthcare professionals, Sickness certificates, Primary healthcare, Sweden
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-89836DOI: 10.1007/s10926-013-9418-0ISI: 000322880900015PubMedID: 23345119OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-89836DiVA: diva2:609918