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Work Participation in Older Workers: A Systematic Review of Interventions

May 11th, 11:00 am PDT, 2:00 pm EDT

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In these series many ideas on how to keep older workers in the workforce have been put forward.  In this seminar we want to provide an overview of the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions aimed at promoting work participation in older workers. In our study, we followed a systematic review process and a best evidence synthesis that ranked evidence as strong, moderate, limited, or insufficient. The literature was searched from inception to March 2014. Evidence from 14 studies were synthesized into different intervention categories. There was moderate evidence that work participation was improved by multi-component interventions encompassing at least two of three components (health service delivery, coordination of services, and work modifications). There was not enough evidence to recommend other interventions. Conclusions: Although there is a vast body of research on work participation of older workers, there are only a few high quality intervention studies aimed at improving work participation in this population. We recommend that multi-component interventions could be considered for implementation by practitioners to help improve work participation in older workers. Practical applications: With a moderate level of evidence, multi-component interventions could be considered for use in practice if practitioners deem it suitable for their setting. There is not enough evidence to recommend exercise interventions, pharmaceutical interventions, different types of surgeries, patient education or work accommodation alone to improve work participation. However, the lack of evidence should not be considered, as absence of effect and practitioners should continue to be creative in developing solutions.

Upon completion of this webinar, the learner will be able to:

  • Identify invention components that are likely effective in keeping older workers in the workforce
  • Develop an evidence informed retention strategy in their workplace
  • Generate new ideas to improve workplace based strategies to keep older workers employed and engaged​


Dr. Ivan Steenstra

Dr. Ivan Steenstra is the Manager Research & Analytics at Morneau Shepell. Ivan was trained as a human movement scientist at Groningen University and as an epidemiologist at VU University in Amsterdam. He obtained his PhD from the Department of Public & Occupational Health at VU University. He received a Post doctoral Diploma from the CIHR Strategic Training Program on Work Disability Prevention at Sherbrooke University. The focus of his study and research has always been on work and health. His interests focus on predictive modelling and implementing evidence in practice related to work, and productivity. He has (co-) authored over 40 peer reviewed publications and presented at numerous (international) conferences.


Last Modified: 1/26/2018 3:58 PM