Experimental studies evaluating interventions aimed at job retention using methods of solving work-related problems using an empowerment perspective and directed at employees with chronic illnesses were eligible for inclusion. Empowerment perspective was defined as offering knowledge and skills to participants to enable them to adopt an active attitude to defining and solving problems. Chronic illnesses could include diabetes mellitus, rheumatic diseases, hearing disorders (excluding deafness), multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, epilepsy, chronic kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Studies evaluating diseases with dominant psychosocial aspects such as low back pain were excluded.
All interventions included in the review offered education combined with counselling, assessment or training. Some studies were directed at psychological and social consequences of diseases for function at work. Others offered practical solutions for work-related problems. The number of individual sessions varied from one to several and the number of group program meetings varied from four to 10. The setting of the included studies varied and included outpatient clinics, community health centres, vocational rehabilitation organisation or patient organisations. Participants in the included studies were employees with rheumatic diseases, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, chronic kidney failure, hearing impairment, visual impairment or blindness. Outcomes assessed included feasibility of intervention, employment status, physical and psychological health and use of hearing aids.
The authors stated neither how papers were selected for the review nor how many reviewers conducted the selection (although they reported that if there was any doubt about inclusion of a study, the last author also screened the abstract).