Early Vocational Rehabilitation After Serious Injury or Illness: A Systematic Review
McLennan V and Ludvik D
Abstract: The aim of this systematic review was to compile the evidence for early vocational rehabilitation interventions for people with major injury or illness. Embase, Scopus, Cochrane Library, Medline, CINAHL, and Psycinfo databases were searched. Five hundred abstracts were reviewed for eligibility. Full-text review of 125 studies revealed a total of 25 published studies that met the eligibility criteria to be included in this review evaluating early approaches to vocational rehabilitation and return to work. Findings suggest that intervening early with respect to an individual’s vocational goals is imperative, although the definition of “early” varies. Programs achieve better vocational outcomes when specifically employing comprehensive vocational interventions, including vocational assessment, individualized planning, and follow-up support, to ensure a person’s return to employment is timely and sustained. Integration of vocational rehabilitation professionals within a multidisciplinary team and access to advocacy services were shown to be effective inclusions in early vocational rehabilitation programs for people with a serious injury or illness.