Workplace interventions that support older employees’ health and work ability - a scoping review

Tina Söderbacka, Linda Nyholm, Lisbeth Fagerström

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The aim of this study was to examine workplace interventions that support older employees' health and work ability and the effect of these interventions. Methods: We used a scoping review, a type of a systematic literature review in which selected published academic articles and grey literature reports are included, to answer the following questions: 1) What kind of interventions have been made to support older employees' health? and 2) What effects do these interventions have on older employees' work ability? The scoping review framework proposed by Arksey and O'Malley and summarized by the Joanna Briggs Institute was used. Four key concepts comprised the basis for the research: health, intervention, older employee and work ability. A total of 8 articles were found to meet the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The study was limited to published academic articles between 2007 and 2019. Participant age varied between 37 and 74 years (overall average age 50-55) and workplaces comprised the intervention settings. Results: Three main intervention categories were discerned: health checks and counselling for employees on the individual level, interventions based on screenings, and improvements in work environment or organization. Positive behavioral change and lowered health risks can be achieved through health counselling, which increases work ability. Measurements and screenings comprise good ways to chart and follow-up on employees' work ability and health status. Supervisor training and support from supervisors were seen to have a positive effect on health outcomes and increased work ability. Conclusions: To guarantee good results, employers should focus on employees' health and interventions should occur when employees are younger than the studied group. The small number of articles related to intervention studies for the age group studied here indicate that a knowledge gap exists. We maintain that workplaces that promote employees' health by strengthening older employees' vitality can encourage employees to have longer careers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number472
Pages (from-to)
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Scoping review
  • Work ability
  • Older employee
  • Health
  • Intervention


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