Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Planning Post-Employment Support for People with Psychiatric Disabilities

Academic journal article The Journal of Rehabilitation

Planning Post-Employment Support for People with Psychiatric Disabilities

Article excerpt

Competitive job tenure remains relatively brief for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses (SPMI) receiving supported employment assistance. This is the case even when the form of supported employment is evidence-based and designed specifically for those with psychiatric disabilities (Bond & Kukla, 2011a). Known as the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) approach, it was developed in the USA over 20 years ago. IPS now has a body of consistent evidence based on randomized control trials supporting its greater effectiveness over other forms of vocational rehabilitation for this population (Bond. Drake, & Becker, 2008; Drake & Bond, 2014). Greater effectiveness for IPS has also been replicated outside the USA in Australia, Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, and the UK (Bond, Drake, & Becker, 2012). Although continuing post-employment support is considered a core principle of the IPS approach (Bond & Kukla, 2011b; Bond, Peterson, Becker & Drake, 2012) to date there is little information available to guide how such support is best provided.

The aim of this study was to gather what is already known about post-employment support and collect the views of experienced practitioners on how to conceptualise and plan post-employment support in the workplace. Examining the literature revealed few studies specifically focusing on post-employment support (e.g. Bond & Kukla 2011b). However, job tenure was more frequently reported. In a review of six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of the IPS approach across several countries, the mean job tenure was 22 weeks among 317 clients (Bond, et. al., 2008). A similar finding was noted in Australia, where over a 12-month period those receiving an IPS intervention (n=106) were employed for a mean duration of 25.3 weeks (SD=16.5) (Waghorn, Dias, Gladman, Harris, & Saha, 2014). This was not significantly different from the mean employment duration for those in the control group receiving alternative employment services (M=21.7 weeks; SD=17.5).

Post-Employment Support and Job Tenure

Drake and Bond (2008) have stated that enhancing client job tenure is an important future direction of IPS. One way that employment specialists could facilitate this is by providing ongoing, high quality post-employment support (Drake & Bond, 2008). Bond and Kukla (201 lb) explored the impact of the frequency, duration and type (face-to-face, telephone, and email) of post-employment support on job tenure over a two-year period. The frequency of employment specialist contact was positively correlated with total months worked over the two years (r=.27; p<0.01). This finding supports the widely held expectation that good quality post-employment support helps to maintain competitive employment.

Corbiere and colleagues (2011, 2014) also explored the impact of post-employment support on job tenure. The authors developed a measure of the types of support and work adjustments available to clients in the workplace, known as the Work Accommodation and Natural Support Scale (WANSS). The WANSS was administered to 124 supported employment clients who obtained one competitive job in a 9-month follow-up period (Corbiere et al., 2014). Participants who kept their job longer reported: a higher WANSS score (r=.32, p<.01); the presence of a job coach in the work environment (r=.24, p<.05); supervisor and co-worker supports (t=.38, p<.01); receiving training (r=.25, p<.01 ); and work schedule flexibility (r=.28, p<.{) 1 ). The authors concluded that providing these supports in the workplace facilitated job tenure (Corbiere et al., 2014). It is important to note that even though post-employment support does facilitate job tenure, other factors such as labour market characteristics need to be taken into consideration. Even with quality post-employment support, it can still be difficult for a person with SPMI to maintain employment as there are relatively high job turnover rates in many Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries (OECD, 2009). …

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