Introduction Sickness presence is a relatively new ‘phenomenon that people, despite complaints and ill health that should prompt them to rest and take sick leave, go to work in any case’. The highest sickness presence is largely to be found in the care and welfare and educational sectors. The aim of the study is to investigate the relations between barriers and work impairment and sickness presence among health care workers.
Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted at the largest hospital in Slovenia involving 5865 health care workers employed at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana in the year 2010. Each employee obtained a questionnaire composed of three standardised international questionnaires. Logistic regression methods were used to assess the associations between risk factors and sickness presence. The questionnaire contained questions related to demographic factors and factors that describe one’s own assessment of workability (absenteeism, barriers and work impairment, anticipated certainty about one’s own workability in the following year). Data was analysed using SPSS.
Results In multivariate modelling the highest odds were calculated for barriers at work (OR=4,5; 95% CI: 3,8 to 5,3), anticipated uncertainty about workability (OR=1,9; 95% CI: 1,5 to 2,3), sickness absence more than twice a year (OR=3,6; 95% CI: 3,0 to 4,4) and sickness absence more than twice in the past year (OR=2,7; 95% CI: 2,2 to 3,3).
Conclusion This is the first surveillance on sickness presence indicates that besides the pre-requisite – bad health, sickness presence is associated with barriers at work, their consequences on behaviour of the workers and sickness absence. If continued they might have negative consequences on work and health care worker’s health and require a response in health care organisation.
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