New network to support older employees with musculoskeletal disorders

Friday, 16 February, 2024

New network to support older employees with musculoskeletal disorders

A research network called JOINTWORKS has been established to transform the management of chronic musculoskeletal disorders in the workplace. The network, established by the University of Birmingham, has received £109,000 in funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research, as part of its Work and Health Research Programme.

JOINTWORKS focuses on supporting the ageing workforce by developing practical interventions to assist employees over the age of 50 with chronic musculoskeletal disorders (CMSDs), enhancing their ability to remain productive and healthy. The network aims to make a significant impact on how CMSDs are managed in the workplace, and to become a sustainable, interdisciplinary platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration and advocacy in workplace health.

The network will also implement innovative approaches to explore and understand the complex interplay of factors affecting musculoskeletal health at work. It will engage diverse stakeholders to ensure that the programs developed are inclusive and cater to a range of needs in both office and remote working environments.

Dr Glykeria Skamagki and Professor Afroditi Stathi from the University of Birmingham will lead the program, bringing together a team of experts including healthcare professionals, policymakers and members of the public. Skamagki said the network’s goal is to co-create initiatives with direct input from those most affected by CMSDs. “This approach ensures that our solutions are not only scientifically sound but also resonate with the real-life experiences of those managing CMSDs every day,” Skamagki said.

Stathi added that JOINTWORKS aims to influence policy and practice, ensuring that older employees are not just able to work, but that they enjoy productive and meaningful working lives. “It is crucial that we identify effective and sustainable ways to support our ageing workforce to maintain health and wellbeing,” Stathi said.

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