1. Hi Bronnie, thanks for this post. I have noticed similar trends in North America, I recently looked at the RTW rates and commentary in the literature and found that there is an upward and downward squeeze on the labour market, more healthy 20+ year olds are entering the workforce and their Boomer parents are staying in the workforce past their planned retirement age, mostly due to the global financial crisis.

    This has led to a market that can be selective about who they employ. People with a limitation or impairment have less opportunity in this market.

    It is therefore likely that people injured on the job are also finding they are getting less opportunity to RTW into modified employment.

    1. Hi Anita
      It’s an ongoing trend, and there are multiple factors involved I’m certain. The downturn is quite a sharp one over the past couple of years, so I’m not sure that it’s directly related to the increase in young people and their elders both being in the job market, although that’s going to be an ongoing factor. I wonder whether it’s got something to do with the increased emphasis here in New Zealand at least to more injection therapies for people with chronic pain – without concurrent comprehensive pain management; I also wonder whether the emphasis in New Zealand on more clinical psychology input has something to do with it. Here there is no requirement for any therapist working with people in chronic pain to have specific experience, training or qualifications – and there is limited mention of pain management in many professional training programmes, so that the opportunity for mixed messages to people with chronic pain is very high. I think RTW is the period when people are most likely to fail to manage their pain especially when they have been ‘trained’ to avoid fluctuations in pain by so-called ‘pacing’. More on this another day though!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s always great to know people are reading this stuff!

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