Background Musculoskeletal disorders are amongst the leading causes of disability in the working age population. Growing evidence suggests early screening and targeted interventions during the acute phase can promote work retention and prevent disability.
Objectives This study aims to develop and feasibility test an early, case manager-led intervention focusing on work as a clinical outcome. Here we report qualitative findings from focus groups and interviews conducted to consider issues of content, delivery and optimal timing, and to explore key priorities and potential challenges in service delivery.
Methods Two focus groups and three individual interviews were conducted, involving 17 experts representing the multidisciplinary team. Thematic analysis was used to summarise the views and ideas expressed.
Results Participants highlighted the importance of early access to diagnosis, relevant investigations and referral to specialists as necessary in reducing the risk of long term disability; noting the critical importance of GPs in facilitating early access. The need to provide reassurance and education about the patient's condition was highlighted, as was the importance of screening for psychosocial risk factors. Patients most likely to benefit from the intervention were identified as those highly motivated to maintain their current work roles. Ready access to the MDT and the skill set of the case manager were noted as critical concerns, resource constraints pose considerable challenges.
Conclusions Introduction of an early integrated care intervention that targets risk of work disability is warranted. Considerable “buy-in” is required from all stakeholders involved. The data will help to inform the planned feasibility study.
Acknowledgement We would like to thank all of the individuals who participated in the interviews and focus groups.
Disclosure of Interest None declared