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Keywords:

  • health promotion;
  • healthcare workers;
  • occupational health;
  • physical exercise;
  • randomized controlled trial;
  • stress;
  • stress management

Abstract

Title. Integrated health programme: a workplace randomized controlled trial.

Aim.  This paper is the report of a pilot study to assess if an Integrated Health Programme would reduce sick leave and subjective health complaints, and increase coping in a population of nursing personnel.

Background.  The work group in Norway with most sick leave is healthcare workers. More than 50% of the sick leave is because of subjective health complaints. Work place physical exercise interventions have a documented positive effect on sick leave.

Method.  After baseline screening, employees who had agreed to participate (n = 40) were randomized to an intervention or control group. The intervention group participated in an Integrated Health Programme twice weekly during working hours. The programme consisted of physical exercise, stress management training, health information and an examination of the participants’ workplace. The control group was offered the same intervention after the project was finished. This study was carried out from 2001 to 2002.

Findings.  There were no statistically significant effects on sick leave or health-related quality of life. The intervention group reported fewer neck complaints compared to the control group, but otherwise there were no effects on subjective health complaints. However, the subjective effects were large and highly statistically significant, the intervention group reporting improvement in health, physical fitness, muscle pain, stress management, maintenance of health and work situation.

Conclusion.  The Integrated Health Programme was not effective in reducing sick leave and subjective health complaints, but may be of use to employers wanting to increase employee job satisfaction and well-being.