To ascertain the feasibility and acceptability of delivering a job retention vocational rehabilitation intervention [MSVR] for people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) in a community setting. Secondary objectives included determining whether MSVR was associated with changes in quality of life, fatigue, mood, cognition, workplace accommodations, work instability, work self-efficacy, and goal attainment.
Single-centre mixed-methods feasibility case series.
15 pwMS and three employers received 8.36 (SD = 4.48) and 1.94 (SD = 0.38) hours of MSVR respectively over three months. The intervention predominantly addressed managing cognition, fatigue, and negotiating reasonable accommodations. Four healthcare professionals were recruited to clarify clinical information.
The intervention was feasible to deliver, and there was a significant positive impact on goal attainment immediately following MSVR (t(14) = 7.44, p = .0001, d = 1.9), and at months 3 (t(13) = 4.81, p = .0001, d = 1.28), 6 (t(11) = 4.45, p = .001, d = 1.28), and 12 (t(9) = 5.15, p = .001, d = −2.56). There was no impact on quality of life, fatigue, mood, cognition, workplace accommodations, work instability, and work self-efficacy. In post-intervention interviews, participants reported that MSVR was acceptable. Four themes were derived regarding the context, employer engagement, empowerment through knowledge, and intervention components and attributes.
It was feasible and acceptable to deliver MSVR. Participants better understood their MS, became more confident managing problems at work and attained their work-related goals.
IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION
People with multiple sclerosis (MS) experience problems at work because of the interaction between symptoms and environmental factors (e.g., co-workers’ attitudes).
Vocational rehabilitation for people with MS and their employers should be tailored in terms of content and intensity.
People with MS can be empowered at work by learning about MS and how their symptoms fluctuate over time.
Understanding legal responsibilities and examples of accommodations at work can be beneficial for employers.
De Dios Pérez, B., das Nair, R., & Radford, K. (in press). A mixed-methods feasibility case series of a job retention vocational rehabilitation intervention for people with multiple sclerosis. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-12. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2023.2181411