The aim of the study was to investigate present and past morbidity in drug addicts, 25 years after hospitalisation for acute hepatitis B or hepatitis nonA-nonB. The hospital records for 214 consecutively admitted patients were analysed, and a follow-up study on 66 of the 144 patients still alive was performed. At follow-up, 1 of 54 (1.8%) hepatitis B patients was still HBsAg positive. Twelve patients originally diagnosed as hepatitis nonA-nonB were all among 54 found to be anti-hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) positive, and the total anti-HCV prevalence was 81.8%. Twelve (22.2%) of the HCV cases were unknown before the follow-up examination. Four (6.1%) participants were anti-human immunodeficiency virus positive, only 1 was on antiretroviral therapy, and none had developed AIDS. Other chronic somatic diseases were a minor problem, whereas drug users reported skin infections as a frequent complication. Forty-three patients (65%) had abandoned addictive drugs since the hospital stay. Serious mental disorders were reported by 19 patients (28.8%), and 17 (25.8%) regarded themselves as present (9) and former (8) compulsive alcohol drinkers. A large proportion of the participants were granted disability pension (39%), a majority because of psychiatric disorders, drug and alcohol abuse.
In recent years, a focus on workers' ability, rather than impairment, has guided disability management services. However, a challenge with the notion of 'ability' is identification of the border between ability and inability. This article considers this gray zone of disability management in the case of a workers' compensation vocational retraining program for injured workers in Ontario.
In-depth interviews and focus groups were conducted with a purposive sample of 71 participants who were directly involved with the vocational retraining process. Workers in the program had on average incurred injury 3 years earlier. Procedural and legal documents were also analyzed. Principles of grounded theory and discourse analysis guided the data gathering and analysis.
A program focus on worker abilities did not allow for consideration of unresolved medical problems. Concepts such as maximum medical rehabilitation distracted attention from workers' ongoing chronic and unstable health situations, and incentive levers to employers directed some of the least capable workers into the program. As well, communication pathways for discussing health problems were limited by rules and provider reluctance to reveal problems. Therefore, workers completing the program were deemed 'employable', while ongoing and problematic health conditions preventing employment remained relatively uncharted and invisible.
This study reinforces how the shift in disability management paradigm to a focus on ability and return to work requires consideration of environmental conditions, including policies and programs and implementation. A focus on the environment in which worker ability can be enacted might be as important as a focus on improving individual worker characteristics.
The purpose of this article is to investigate actions taken by the Social Insurance Agency (SIA) for long-term sickness absentees and possible associations of this with future sick leave or disability pension.
For 384 long-term sickness absentees who had had a multidisciplinary medical assessment (MMA) during 2001-2006, three types of data were obtained: (1) case file information about SIA actions, (2) suggested rehabilitation measures from the MMA and (3) sickness absence and disability pension data.
Most individuals had been subject to a range of actions by the SIA. Sixty percent had been invited to a coordination meeting, and half of those who assessed by the MMA for vocational rehabilitation were approved to get it by the SIA. Few SIA actions were associated with full or partial return to work.
Although the studied individuals had been on sick leave for a long time, the number of SIA actions related to vocational rehabilitation was limited and came late in the sick-leave spell. The information from the MMA was often not used as a basis for further SIA action and seldom resulted in return to work. The positive MMA views on the potential of vocational rehabilitation were not met by SIA actions.
Suggestions on vocational rehabilitation from a medical assessment was in many cases not used by the social insurance agency in relationship to long-term sickness absentees. Active rehabilitation measures by the social insurance agency were few and came late in the sickness absence process. Few of the activities taken by the social insurance agency enhanced return to work.