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Award-Winning New Research: Motivational Interviewing - Plus Rehabilitation –Gets Employees Back to Work Faster Than Rehabilitation Alone

8/10/2017 11:00 AM

Award-Winning New Research: Motivational Interviewing - Plus Rehabilitation –Gets Employees Back to Work Faster Than Rehabilitation Alone


A recent conference has awarded two members of a University of Alberta research team, whose groundbreaking work involves a new approach to helping employees with muscle and joint problems or injuries, successfully return to work.

The technique involved – motivational interviewing - is a low cost, low risk approach that has proven to be effective with injured workers in increasing return-to-work rates.

Motivational interviewing, in the workplace setting, is an employee-centered counselling approach that assists in resolving their doubt and/or contradictory ideas regarding work ability.


The presentation/workshop, by Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine researchers Doug Gross, professor of physical therapy, and Joanne Park, occupational therapist and recent rehabilitation science PhD graduate, was selected as one of the winners of the Awards for Research / Case Study Excellence arising from the Safe, Healthy, and Productive Workplaces: Learning from Research and Practice international conference.


The presentation, Motivational Interviewing Complements Work Rehabilitation Practice with Injured Workers, provides strong evidence that adding motivational interviewing to a rehabilitation program dramatically assisted employees in returning to work and then staying at work [following their work participation one year later]. The results found that the addition of this behavioural approach more than doubled the proportion of workers returning to work [than those who participated in a clinical rehabilitation program alone].   Not only was there twice the likelihood that they returned to work as compared to those without the motivational interviewing, but one year later, more people who had motivational interviewing, remained at work vs. those who had not had motivational interviewing.


These results are relevant to employers, labour/unions, human resources professionals, return-to-work coordinators, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and others who work with injured workers as well as workers' compensation boards, and other public and private insurers.

An online video presentation, or webinar, recently presented the new Gross/Park research for a broader global audience.  That free public webinar can be viewed here.​


To book interviews, contact CIRPD at 1-800-684-4148​



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Last Modified: 10/18/2016 4:07 PM