Individualised placement support as an employment intervention for individuals with chronic pain: a qualitative exploration of stakeholder views
Background: Individualised Placement and Support (IPS) is a tailored, client-centred employment intervention for people with chronic health conditions. It involves the integration of vocational advisers within health teams to optimise return-to-work strategies. The intervention aims to get clients into employment by complementing traditional job searching skills with placements, and one-to-one mentoring alongside a work-focused health intervention. Aim: To explore the concept of IPS for individuals with chronic pain. Design & setting: A multi-method qualitative study was designed to explore stakeholder views of IPS for individuals with chronic pain in southern England. Method: Fourteen semi-structured interviews and three focus groups were conducted with current recipients of IPS (clients), employment support workers (ESWs), and healthcare professionals (HCPs). All data were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analysed using thematic analysis. Results: In total, 11 HCPs, five ESWs, and nine clients participated in the study. The analysis identified four themes. The situations of chronic pain patients were discussed, including their complex needs, multifaceted relationship with work, support from HCPs, and existing programmes that were failing to meet their needs. The intervention input was highlighted, including the recruitment procedures and role of ESWs. Programme activities and outcomes were also identified. Conclusion: This study identified the complex needs and relationship with work of individuals with chronic pain. It showed that ESWs need to understand the unpredictability of symptoms for individuals with chronic pain and that clients may need additional support before a placement. The findings highlighted several activities for future IPS interventions and potential outcomes for future evaluation.
Stanescu, Sabina C