The project addresses the needs of a critical target population – employed individuals with physical disabilities who are at risk of under or unemployment due to chronic pain – and the challenges they face in maintaining employment. We propose to conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate an evidence-based, telehealth-based pain self-management intervention, adapted to address risk and protective factors for employment disability, compared to a waitlist control, in employed adults with chronic pain.
Bridging a Gap
This project bridges a notable gap in rehabilitation service delivery by using a telehealth approach to overcome access barriers to pain self-management. We will integrate critical VR strategies, such as requesting workplace accommodations, self-advocacy, and activity pacing, based on input from RRTC team experts and stakeholders, to tailor the pain self-management intervention to the unique needs of employed individuals with physical disability and chronic pain. This telehealth approach will transcend geographical and transportation barriers to increase the reach of pain self-management interventions, reduce stigma that interferes with seeking care for pain, and has inherent scalability for broad dissemination.The project will not only evaluate the benefits of the telehealth intervention on employment but also on other important outcomes, such as community participation. The study may also inform future interventions or policies on effective pain management to reduce the risks associated with opioid use in people with disabilities.
The project is part one of a four part Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTC) grant sponsored by NIDILRR. The project director is Dr. Allen Heinmann who will be collaborating with Dr. Dawn Ehde, principal investigator of this project.