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BMJ Open 1:e000246 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000246
  • Health services research
    • Research

Respectful encounters and return to work: empirical study of long-term sick-listed patients' experiences of Swedish healthcare

  1. Gert Helgesson1
  1. 1Stockholm Centre for Healthcare Ethics (CHE), Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2Unit of Biostatistics, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Environmental Medicine (IMM), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3Division of Insurance Medicine, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Niels Lynöe; niels.lynoe{at}ki.se
  • Received 30 June 2011
  • Accepted 1 September 2011
  • Published 19 October 2011

Abstract

Aims To study long-term sick-listed patients' self-estimated ability to return to work after experiences of healthcare encounters that made them feel either respected or wronged.

Methods A cross-sectional and questionnaire-based survey was used to study a sample of long-term sick-listed patients (n=5802 respondents). The survey included questions about positive and negative encounters as well as reactions to these encounters, such as ‘feeling respected’ and ‘feeling wronged’. The questionnaire also included questions about the effects of these encounters on the patients' ability to return to work.

Results Among patients who had experienced positive encounters, those who also felt respected (n=3327) demonstrated significantly improved self-estimated ability to return to work compared to those who did not feel respected (n=79) (62% (95% CI 60% to 64%) vs 34% (95% CI 28% to 40%)). Among patients with experiences of negative encounters, those who in addition felt wronged (n=993) claimed to be significantly more impeded from returning to work compared to those who did not feel wronged (n=410) (50% (95% CI 47% to 53%) vs 31% (95% CI 27% to 35%)).

Conclusions The study indicates that positive encounters in healthcare combined with feeling respected significantly facilitate sickness absentees' self-estimated ability to return to work, while negative encounters combined with feeling wronged significantly impair it.

Footnotes

  • Correction notice The “To cite: …” information and running footer in this article have been updated with the correct volume number (volume 1).

  • To cite: Lynöe N, Wessel M, Olsson D, et al. Respectful encounters and return to work: empirical study of long-term sick-listed patients' experiences of Swedish healthcare. BMJ Open 2011;1:e000246. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000246

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval The Research Ethics Committee in Linköping approved this study (Dnr 03-261).

  • Contributors NL had the original idea for the present study, took the leading part in its conception and design, conducted the first statistical analysis, contributed substantially to the interpretation of results, wrote the first draft of the manuscript and participated in critical revision of later versions. MW and DO conducted all further statistical analyses, contributed to the interpretation of results and critically revised the manuscript. KA conceived and designed the questionnaire and was responsible for data acquisition. She contributed substantially to the interpretation of results and critically revised the manuscript. GH contributed substantially to the conception and design of the study and to the interpretation of results. He had a leading role in the revision of the manuscript.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data available.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.

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