BACKGROUND: The number of older workers will expand during the next decades. Older workers have more long-term health problems and related limitations.OBJECTIVE: This study examined supportive actions provided in occupational healthcare services to older workers after vocational rehabilitation. An additional purpose was to explore occupational healthcare professionals' views on how to realize and improve adequate support activities.METHODS: Qualitative and quantitative methods were used, including a postal questionnaire and focus group discussions. Sixty-seven occupational healthcare service units participated in the postal questionnaire. Eight occupational healthcare professionals participated in two focus group discussions. The qualitative data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis.RESULTS: The qualitative analysis resulted in one theme (Act with respect), and four categories (Need for cooperation, Collaborative resources of involved stakeholders, Individual needs for support, and Gender as homogenous and separate groups). Quantitative results revealed that the workers' initiative strongly influenced the support carried out. Recommendations from the rehabilitation clinic were almost always considered when deciding on supportive actions. Focus group discussions brought up gender differences especially highlighted in the category Gender as homogenous and separate groups.CONCLUSIONS: Appropriate support of older workers requires cooperation between involved stakeholders, including occupational healthcare services. Provided support should be based on individual needs, but a mutual practice of determining needed support is requested.
- occupational health
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