IRSST - Institut de recherche Robert-Sauvé en santé et en sécurité du travail

Development and implementation of a program for shared decision making by occupational therapists and workers with a work disability attributable to a persistent musculoskeletal disorder: the perspective of the key stakeholders in rehabilitation


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the leading causes of short- and long-term disability and generate heavy social and economic costs. Great efforts are therefore made to offer effective work-rehabilitation programs to workers who have such disorders.

In an earlier study, the researchers observed gaps between clinicians’ and workers’ understanding of certain aspects of the problem, including their mental representation of their disability and pain and of the treatment objectives. These gaps were seen to continue during the work rehabilitation program in those workers who had not returned to work by the end of the program.

The main objective of this study was to facilitate attainment of the goal shared by clinician and worker, in the context of a rehabilitation program, while taking into account the needs of and constraints faced by employers, unions and the compensation system. In the healthcare sector, shared decision making (SDM) is traditionally defined as a relationship between the worker and clinician in which there is an effective exchange of information, agreement on the action plan to pursue and the goals of the intervention, follow-up, and if need be, a readjustment of the treatment methods. By developing an SDM process and implementing it in the rehabilitation context, the researchers hope to offer a systematic approach that will improve communication and coordination among the key stakeholders and ultimately facilitate the return-to-work process.

Additional Information

Type: Project
Number: 0099-8320
Status: Completed
Year of completion: 2015
Research Field: Occupational Rehabilitation
  • Marie-France Coutu (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • France Légaré (Université Laval)
  • Marie-José Durand (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Marc Corbière (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Patrick Loisel (Université de Sherbrooke)
  • Stacey Dawn (Université d'Ottawa)
  • Lesley Bainbridge (University of British Columbia)