Effect of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme on perceived health among employees at increased risk of incapacity for work: A controlled study
Most of us would agree that prevention is better than cure. However this study indicates that a costly intervention programme designed to reduce early retirement on health grounds in Finland had no measurable effect. The research was a large scale evaluative study of vocational rehabilitation, which followed 872 participants and their 2440 matched controls for up to nine years. The participants went through a four-week prevention programme incorporating physical and psychological health education and support. It aimed to help participants adopt a healthier lifestyle, and to achieve greater aerobic capacity, muscle strength and endurance, and to better manage their own stress. The four week programme is widely used in Finland but this study suggests that the programme had little effect, either in the short or long term, on how those who took part perceived their health. Although the authors stress that their findings may not hold true beyond Finland, the study shines a spotlight on similar, work-related interventions. They conclude that future research is needed to examine the reasons for the ineffectiveness of this costly early intervention and to identify more effective preventive measures to improve subjective health in working populations.