Despite a range of factors being proposed in research literature to be key to 'work-ability', agreed definitions and boundaries of this concept are lacking.
This review sought to identify and clarify key factors thought to contribute to individual work-ability, then compare these against existing measures of work-ability for people with injury.
A literature search was undertaken based on principles of systematic review. MEDLINE, AMED, Scopus and Web of Science databases were searched.
All potentially relevant articles were obtained and, if they met inclusion criteria, evaluated for quality.
The search was expanded and repeated to identify currently available measures of work-ability for people with injury.
These measures were then compared against components from the first search.
Thirty-four articles were obtained from the first search, and 23 provided information about factors that contribute to work-ability. Six broad categories were identified: physical, psychological, cognitive, social/behavioural, workplace factors, and factors outside the workplace.
The follow-up search identified 10 measures.
No one measure captured all six identified categories.
Components contributing to work-ability go beyond the ability to perform particular work tasks.
Measures intended to be used to inform vocational rehabilitation arguably need to consider all these factors to maximise likelihood of a sustainable return to work.
Disability and rehabilitation
Health and Rehabilitation Research Centre, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand. jfadyl [at] aut.ac.nz
Disabil Rehabil. 2010 ;32(14):1173-83
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