Needs and expectations among individuals, health personnel, and stakeholders involved in occupation and health (Bridgebuilder project)

Impaired musculoskeletal health is known to negatively impact work productivity and life quality. This project acts as a bridge between academic research and users’ needs in the society.

Background

Impaired musculoskeletal health is known to negatively impact work productivity and life quality, leading to loss of workforce, early job retirement, long-term disability, and financial insecurity. In addition, impaired musculoskeletal health deprives affected individuals of participation in social roles and causes isolation, depression, and anxiety.

Occupation and health are two important entities in human life that interact closely. Evidence shows that a disturbance to one of these, affects the other, and a vicious cycle is formed. Lack of occupation often leads to mental health and negative impact on well-being, and disturbed mental and somatic health prohibits from keeping a fully functional and proper occupation.

Disability in terms of production loss poses a large burden to society and the health care system in terms of direct and indirect costs.

Aims and objectives

In this project, we will identify the needs and expectations of those individuals affected by a bidirectional vicious cycle of impaired musculoskeletal health (alone, or co-morbid with mental health) and deviation from a proper occupation. In addition, we will include perspectives of health personnel and associated stakeholders involved in occupation and health. This project falls within the category of need analysis research and will help to identify gaps, limitations, and barriers. This will in turn lead to the proper and meaningful design of research projects at CIM to address the needs and close the gaps. The project is a collaboration between Grünerløkka district in Oslo municipality and Center for Intelligent Musculoskeletal Health.

In human-centered research, involving users are highly emphasized to take their needs, expectations, and perspectives into account for study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation, and implementation. Therefore, we propose this project to identify the needs and expectations of those individuals affected by the dysfunctional interaction between occupation and musculoskeletal health, those who are on long-term sick leave and disability benefits due to occupational musculoskeletal disorders, and health personnel at primary care, who are in contact with these individuals at Grünerløkka district.

We also consult with Grünerløkka NAV and other relevant organizations (e.g., the council of musculoskeletal health, the Nettverk eldre og rusbruk Oslo (NERO), National Institute of Occupational Health in Norway; the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs) to identify their perspectives, needs, and expectations. These will then help us identify gaps, limitations, and barriers and to design proper and meaningful studies that can close the gaps and address the users’ needs. This can provide opportunities and solutions for a sustainable benefit to both users and stakeholders, and also minimize research waste.

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