Work. 2023 Jan 10. doi: 10.3233/WOR-220065. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease is amongst the top three leading causes of mortality in South Africa and the world. The effects of cardiovascular disease can be seen in limitations of function within all spheres of life, including work function. Cardiac rehabilitation programs have been documented to improve functional abilities, however further research is required with regard to activity limitation, participation restrictions, facilitators, and barriers of return to work, after cardiac rehabilitation.
OBJECTIVE: This qualitative study aimed to determine and explore the barriers and enablers of return to work for individuals with cardiovascular disease who completed a cardiac rehabilitation program in the Western Cape, South Africa. The qualitative exploration was part of a study that resulted in a return-to-work program for individuals with cardiac disease.
METHOD: Qualitative methodology was employed for this study. Semi-structured interviews were used with 10 participants that attended a cardiac rehabilitation program. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data was completed.
RESULTS: The participants described the barriers and facilitators of their return-to-work process and the factors that were of critical importance in the resumption of the worker role or the result of unemployment. The four major themes were 1) Cardiac conditions negatively affect function, 2) Being unemployed, 3) Participation in ADLs and lifestyle modification enhances one’s activity levels, and 4) Return to work.
CONCLUSION: Lifestyle modification and reasonable accommodation enable a successful return to work after a cardiac incident.
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