UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Management of Chronic Musculoskeletal Disorders in the Workplace from the Perspective of Older Employees: A Mixed Methods Research Study Skamagki, Glykeria; Carpenter, Christine; King, Andrew; Wåhlin, Charlotte


(1) Background: This mixed methods research (MMR) study explored older employees’ experiences of chronic musculoskeletal disorders (CMSDs) in relation to their employment, their perspectives on managing these conditions in the workplace and the strategies used to facilitate and maintain their roles and responsibilities. The services offered to them were also identified. (2) Methods: A mixed methods exploratory sequential design was implemented. In the first qualitative phase, 16 semi-structured interviews gathered in-depth information from older employees. The findings informed the development of an online questionnaire in the survey phase, which was administered to older employees (N = 107). Both sets of findings were then integrated using a narrative joint display. (3) Results: The phenomena of presenteeism and leaveism were important components of employees’ strategies for managing their condition. The integrated findings highlighted the roles of employers, managers and social support in encouraging disclosure and supporting the management of CMSDs. The results also emphasised how self-management and professional health services are crucial for sustaining employability. (4) Conclusions: Current challenges call for employers to identify effective ways to support the ageing workforce and invest in training opportunities for managers and collaborative opportunities with healthcare professionals and other stakeholders. A flexible, empathetic and resourceful work environment is optimal for supporting sustained employability for an ageing workforce.

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