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A healthier Krokom

Krokom municipality has one of the highest levels of sickness absenteeism in Sweden. The high number of sick days along with new legislation on sickness absenteeism meant that it was both natural and necessary to adapt the way people worked in occupational health care. A project was started entitled A pilot model for occupational health care in the county of Jämtland, it was designed to reduce the number of sick days and help get the people who were sick back to work.

 

Konference at the project

Caption: At the dissemination conference, health and safety representatives, public health coordinators, operations managers and administrative directors reflect on the lessons learned and the difficulties involved with workplace rehabilitation.

The primary approach was to work in close cooperation with occupational health care providers.  Through programmes designed to provide rehabilitation, management assistance and rehab conversion, the participants were involved in coaching and support to find their own tools to get back onto the labour market.

The participants formed discussion groups in order to explore how those people who were sick felt about how they were treated by the occupational health care services and the authorities.  In this way, it was found that new criteria became apparent when purchasing or following up on occupational health care services.

Better cooperation between the authorities

To make it easier for those people who are sick, the project group examined the type of problems that were found and what it was that was important to change to get more people back to work.

One example is that the authorities involved need to be better at working together.

Karoline Humble who is project coordinator says that health care, the Social Insurance Office and the Job Centres were in favour of the project, but that no extra resources were allocated, which made it harder for them to participate.

"But as a result of the project we have nevertheless seen better-developed interaction between Krokom municipality and the authorities involved compared to other municipalities in the county," says Karoline Humble.

By monitoring the occupational health care services and seeing how they work, we have been able to discover what works and what needs changing.
In particular, the project team looked at how gender considerations were neglected.

"The municipality's resources are primarily used by men, despite the fact that more women are off sick. We see the same patterns in our external suppliers, time and extra effort is spent on men. This is really something we must change," says project manager Agneta Sunder.

The model spreads to other municipalities

All of the intermediate targets that were established at the start of the project have been met, including the reduction of sickness absenteeism in the municipality from 10.5 per cent to 7 per cent from 2007 to 2010.

The municipality must now conduct a new purchase of occupational health care services, and it will therefore start from the new model and other experiences gathered from the pilot project. Agneta Sunder also lectures around the county to inspire and help others within the county with similar problems.

Read more

Projectbank at esf.se