The study describes and analyses the influence of a comprehensive intervention on premature discharges (i.e. the military training cannot be completed).
862 male soldiers from three military units were included.
The intervention included a screening protocol with a questionnaire and physical tests for musculoskeletal complaints or injuries and functional limitations and, where needed, treatment, early rehabilitation and individually-adjusted physical training. The intervention also included organisation-based training in ergonomics and exercise physiology for officers plus enhanced teamwork between officers and physiotherapist. Not all the soldiers underwent the intervention as planned.
The discharge rate was lower in all three units after either of the intervention programmes comparing premature discharge figures with before-implementation study figures. However, significantly fewer soldiers were discharged from the group who underwent the intervention as planned 6.1% compared to the group with the less intensive intervention, 13.1% (p=0.002).
The results indicate that the comprehensive intervention programme can reduce the number of premature discharges from the Swedish Armed Forces. The differences between the groups indicate that the effectiveness was greater when the intervention was fully implemented with regard to intensity.