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Development of a self-management program for employees with complaints of the arm, neck, and/or shoulder: an intervention mapping approach

Authors Hutting N, Detaille SI, Engels JA, Heerkens YF, Staal JB, Nijhuis-van der Sanden MW

Received 13 February 2015

Accepted for publication 12 March 2015

Published 1 July 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 307—320

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S82809

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Nathan Hutting,1,2 Sarah I Detaille,2,3 Josephine A Engels,2 Yvonne F Heerkens,2 J Bart Staal,1,4 Maria WG Nijhuis-van der Sanden1

1Radboud University Medical Center, Radboud Institute for Health Sciences, the Scientific Institute for Quality of Healthcare, 2Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen (HAN) University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Studies, Research Group Occupation and Health, 3HAN University of Applied Sciences, Department HAN Seneca, 4HAN University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Health and Social Studies, Research Group Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Nijmegen, the Netherlands


Purpose: To develop a self-management program with an additional eHealth module, using the six steps of the intervention mapping (IM) protocol, to help employees with complaints of the arm, neck, and/or shoulder (CANS) cope with their problems.
Methods: In Step 1 of the IM protocol, a needs assessment was performed consisting of a review of the Dutch multidisciplinary guidelines on CANS, and of focus group sessions with employees with CANS (n=15) and with relevant experts (n=17). After the needs assessment, the objectives of the intervention and the determinants of self-management at work were formulated (Step 2). Furthermore, theory-based intervention methods and practical strategies were selected (Step 3), and an intervention program (including the eHealth module) was developed (Step 4). Finally, plans for implementation and evaluation of the program were developed (Steps 5 and 6).
Results: Step 1 of the IM protocol revealed that employees with CANS should be stimulated to search for information about the cause of their complaints, about how to deal with their complaints, and in which manner they can influence their complaints themselves. In Step 2, the overall goal of the intervention was defined as “self-management behavior at work” with the aim to alleviate the perceived disability of the participants. Step 3 described how the intervention methods were translated into practical strategies, and goal setting was introduced as an important method for increasing self-efficacy. The product of Step 4 was the final program plan, consisting of 6-weekly group sessions of 2.5 hours each and an eHealth module. In Step 5, a recruitment plan and course materials were developed, a steering committee was set up, trainers were recruited, and the final program was tested. In Step 6, an evaluation plan was developed, which consists of a randomized controlled trial with a 12-month follow-up period and a qualitative evaluation (interviews) with some of the participants.
Conclusion: This study resulted in a theory- and practice-based self-management program, based on behavioral change theories, guideline-related evidence, and practice-based knowledge that fits the needs of employees with CANS.

Keywords: CANS, work-related upper extremity disorders, WRUED, behavioral change theory, intervention development, perceived disability

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