Case Study – An Individual with Chronic Pain Due to Physical Strain

Background

It is challenging working with a chronic condition. For workers with such conditions to stay at work and evade such work-related problems, they need support. Therefore, effective and supportive interventions for preventing exit from jobs by these people and enhancing sustainable employment can be enhanced by such survivors. This paper will analyze a teenager, 19 years old, with chronic pain due to down syndrome resulting from an individual having an additional chromosome responsible for the formation of our bodies and its functioning during gestation and after birth. The extra chromosome is a type of chromosome 21 called trisomy 21, which alters the development of the brain and body, causing both physical and mental problems later in life.

The disease causes different abilities in different persons despite similar actions and characteristics. These individuals have lower IQ and learn how to speak slowly. The standard features of the down syndrome include; flattened face, a shorter neck, tongue hanging out of the mouth, small hands and feet, tiny and pink-like fingers, loose joints, spots on the iris, small ears, almond eyes shape and are always short. These individuals have common facial characteristics and no significant congenital disabilities. However, other medical conditions or minor congenital disabilities are common (Shaw et al.,2014). These include; hearing loss, ear infections, heart defects at birth, obstructive sleep recess, and eye diseases. It is a lifetime condition. Therefore, kids with this condition are offered services that only enhance their physical and intellectual abilities to increase their full development potential. The most common medical services for this condition include; speech, physical and occupational therapies. With most kids suffering from these conditions in regular classes, extra help and attention improve their learning ability.

Method

Participants (target population)

Participants were employees with chronic health conditions. Most of them showed interest in the project aimed at enhancing managing and functioning at work. Most recruitments were done in hospitals, technology firms, and regional healthcare systems. All participants were above 18 years of age and working full time at least 20 hours a week. They were also required to have at least a history of one chronic condition that had lasted for more than half a year. However, the study did not require medical information proof to reduce health disclosure and enhance privacy (Shaw et al.,2021). Another inclusion criterion was the ability of participants to read and speak English. Individuals who were unable to attend workshops before, during, and after lunch breaks and those retiring or changing jobs within the next year were excluded.

Using self-management programs’ principles, we developed an intervention program focusing on workplace and public place challenges. Despite chronic conditions episodic symptoms, the goal was to improve the personal perception of ability to work, enhance accommodation of people with such disabilities, and acknowledge the efforts they put at work, reducing ridicule cases (Petere et al.,2020). The basis of the intervention was on qualitative findings and a review of available management intervention elements. Coaching, learning, and skill development as an aid to self-management at the workplace is the primary goal of the intervention.  The primary focus is on controlling workplace and public area challenges, including coping, effective communication, self-management, work modification, and managing pessimistic thoughts and emotions.

Resources (method)

First was a comparison between the intervention and control group baseline demographics and health variables. Through this analysis, it was concluded that randomization could or could not lead to equivalence. The coefficients included all statistically significant group differences (Kersemaekers et al., 2018). The primary analytic strategy of a repeated measure general linear model was to analyze changes in the outcome measures by comparing intervention and control groups. The between-subject and within-subject factors were group assignment and baseline versus follow-up, respectively. Different outcomes showed a statistically significant group versus time interaction (p=0.05) in repeated measures. Finally, the IBM SPSS statistics were used in the analysis of the whole project.

Process (procedure)

Email announcements and flyers were used to publicize the project in the entire workplace. In workplace injuries or no disabilities, occupational health and safety staff referred individuals who showed such chronic health conditions. The project coordinator provided information to interested participants on the local site. They were responsible for answering any questions, obtaining informed consent, screening participants, and administering baseline surveys. Group intervention or wait-list arm received randomization from the research offices. The statistics involved the block randomization procedure in groups of 20 (Kalakoski et al.,2020). The upcoming group interventions meetings followed randomization through contacting the individuals in the treatment arm. With information on research enrollment remaining confidential, the potential threat to internal validity was contamination due to similar occupational settings for control and intervention participants.

A follow-up survey of approximately half an hour was done six months after enrollment. The study associates contacted both intervention and control groups of participants. A baseline survey was that completed in private locations by participants electronically and on-site. Email message prompts were sent to participants with links for survey completion upon completing the half-year follow-up survey online. A slight appreciation was sent to the participants upon completion of the survey. The participants provided demographic data and coefficient baseline measures, including primary outcomes. A similar type of measure was in the follow-up survey.

Solutions, outcomes, and rationale

The study uses a group psycho-education format to present strategies to enhance working and public challenges experienced by people suffering from chronic pain. Despite the recurrent episodic symptoms, the finding is important since they add to the growing literature on the struggles of young and ill workers. Both in the occupational rehabilitation and public space literature, workplace intervention strategies for these individuals are limited. The past studies only provided the potential effects of health on work performance. However, this project provides emotional struggles of young employees to maintain social relations, develop and understand personal abilities, straightforward accommodations, and overcome barriers by demonstrating assertiveness and understanding of their problem.

For workers with chronic conditions with intermittent symptoms and lack of a straightforward request for accommodation, a supportive work environment is hardly achieved. The successful recruitment of sick workers, holding safe and convenient meetings, promoting discussions, and promoting self-management techniques at their workplaces is an achievement (Holzgreve et al.,2018). Additionally, minimal negative interactions and inhospitable relations at work were reported. Therefore, the workers’ efforts in attaining demanded assistance, including responsible management of workloads without disturbances to managers and colleagues, can be expanded. The downside of this approach is its reliance on employees to request adaptations in the workspaces. The idea of promoting assertive communication was the basis of the communication module training. However, the organizational cultures, work relations, and codes of conduct drew the balance line at workspaces.

Work engagement and disadvantages are the primary outcome measures. Work engagement indicates excellent responsiveness to the intervention is indicated by work engagement aiming at capturing a qualitative element of job satisfaction. Burnouts, feeling unable and isolated, and facing disconnection from work entail the negative feeling in individuals from chronic pain conditions. Beliefs can be addressed through self-management intervention and thus, achieved through identifying opportunities for positive change, devising ways to enlighten managers on their needs, and overcoming challenges through a sense of mastery (Bosma et al.,2020). Hence, increased interests and functionality in daily workloads, minimal worries for growing health problems, including a sense of helplessness.

The work limitation questionnaire is another primary outcome measure in the project. In a preliminary analysis, no improvements were evident in the questionnaire in contrast to work engagement. Its purpose was to quantify work productivity attributed to medical conditions. Thus, its perceived ability to perform physically demanding aspects of the project was not met. The reason behind this is its inability to respond to short-term interventions compared to other published trials of previous studies (Ilić Petković, 2020). Additionally, there is less concern for productivity performance than physical well-being among employees with chronic health conditions. Therefore, the focus on enhancing well-being and performance may lead to future uptake in the workplace interventions for these individuals.

The provision of health coaching, counseling, and educational programs to all employees, including those from chronic health conditions, are important practical implications. In achieving this, specially trained counselors for intervention programs are essential. These counselors offer intense training essential for these workers’ mental and physical well-being, thus offering an added advantage to their management process (Bosma et al.,2020). Moreover, as a result of facilitated group intervention focusing on health challenges, another implication was an increased attachment to their routine tasks. Thus, improved dedication and commitment of workers with chronic health issues may result from increased chances for managing workplace challenges, including an increased sense of mastery.

Furthermore, there was enhanced communication between managers and employees with chronic health conditions in the participating institutions, particularly on their health statuses with minimal or no-hit backs or punitive treatment. Both physical and cognitive demands of the workspace are increasing now and will continue in the future. As a risk factor in the working environments, studies on mental and physical strain need to be adjusted to minimize such cases in the workplaces (Gould-Werth et al.,2018). Moreover, through this project, a systematic and detailed image of actual workplace conditions is evident. Therefore, depending on the organizational context, knowledge work tasks, and working conditions for these individuals, there is evidence of possible causes of the problems, including their importance.

Other interventions include focusing on the workers on sick leave to minimize absenteeism, attention to those with associated health issues, including psychological or musculoskeletal problems, and enhancement of sustainable employments by preventing focused interventions. A more sustainable and impact on workers’ health results from a changing organizational culture compared to personal-level interventions such as job demands, psychological factors, work conditions, and social factors. It is essential to focus on preventing and offering sustainable employment opportunities due to increased numbers of workers with chronic conditions.   Combining other efforts with these findings in future studies will be essential for complete solutions and responses to this issue.

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