Job accommodation to support returning to work after a stroke

A significant proportion of working-age people have illnesses that affect cognitive functions. As the length of working careers increase, so does the number of neurological illnesses in work life. The prevalence of cerebrovascular disease among working-age people in particular has increased. At the same time, the cognitive demands of work are constantly increasing, which also affects the chances of a successful return to work after illness. The study will investigate whether cognitive job accommodation can help support returning to work after a stroke. It will also examine what other factors affect a successful return to work on an individual level and the health-economic costs of having a stroke as a working-age adult.
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Does the Work Accommodation Operational Model developed for the use of workplaces and occupational health care support the return to work of people who have suffered a stroke? In this study, we will investigate how intervention that considers cognitive symptoms and job accommodation affects returning to work after a stroke.

The study aims to examine:

  1. the background and health information of the population returning to work after suffering a stroke
  2. the current job accommodation practices and how the process progresses at the workplace in terms of, for example, working-time arrangements, the organisation of work, changes to the work environment, technology and assistive equipment, available help from others and commuting
  3. what factors related to the employee, workplace, health care and their co-operation prevent and promote job accommodation
  4. the health-economic effects of job accommodation as well as the process and co-operation between health care and the workplace using surveys and case studies
  5. whether the new job accommodation operational model facilitates the implementation of job accommodation for people who have suffered a stroke.

Data and methods

In the intervention approach, we will investigate whether cognitive job accommodation can support the return to work of people who have suffered a stroke. The project’s target group includes approximately 100 people under the age of 65 who have suffered a stroke. The data will be collected from patients returning to work after being treated at HUS Neurocenter.

We will form two groups of patients who have suffered a stroke, of which:

  • one group will participate in a cognitive job accommodation intervention when returning to work
  • one group will return to work in accordance with current practices.

The intervention includes the participation of a specialist health care neuropsychologist in the occupational health negotiation and the planning and implementation of cognitive accommodation measures in accordance with a six-step work accommodation operating model.

We will utilise the Brainwork Survey to refine job accommodation measures and to monitor their effects. Both groups will complete the survey and tests when returning to work and after 1–2 months, 6 months and 12 months.

We will also interview the individuals and their employers or supervisors to produce case descriptions. We will describe the process of returning to work, the work ability support measures and benefits, as well as the responsibilities and roles of the various operators in modifying the work in story form. Financial calculations of the costs and benefits of job accommodation will also be produced. 

Results and impact

The results can be used to develop return to work for people who have suffered a stroke and to support those returning to work with other cognitive disorders.

Contact us

Teemu Paajanen

Teemu Paajanen

teemu.paajanen [at]
+358 30 474 2427


The study is carried out in co-operation with the Neurocenter of the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS).


The study is mainly funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund.