Introduction: This paper reviews the development of occupational rehabilitation in Hong Kong, both in terms of the science as well as the service for injured workers. Besides, it also reviews the existing Employees' Compensation Ordinance for work injury to illustrate how the policy could influence the success and development of the discipline. Methods: Five experienced occupational rehabilitation providers, including 1 occupational medicine specialist, 3 occupational therapists, and 1 physiotherapist critically reviewed the past and current development of occupational rehabilitation in Hong Kong as well as the local contextual factors, which could influence its future development. Results: Since the enactment of the Employees' Compensation Ordinance in the 1950s, there have been progressive improvements in the field of occupational rehabilitation in Hong Kong. Services in the early years were mostly based on the biomedical model, where doctors and patients tended to focus on clinical symptoms and physical pathology when making clinical decisions. Since then, remarkable academic achievements have been made in the field locally, from the validation of clinical instruments for assessment of work capacity, assessment of employment readiness to the evaluation of efficacy of interventional programs for injured workers focusing on work related outcomes. However, there has been a relatively lack of progress in the development of related policies and implementation of related programs for occupational rehabilitation. There is no built in linkage between rehabilitation, compensation and prevention in the current system in Hong Kong, and there is no rehabilitation policy specific to those workers with occupational diseases and injuries. Conclusions: There are still deficiencies in the development and provision of occupational rehabilitation services in Hong Kong. Incorporation of requirements for occupational rehabilitation at the legislation and policy levels should be seriously considered in the future. Besides, the development of the Occupational Medicine subspecialty in the public hospital system in Hong Kong is considered a facilitator to the future development of occupational rehabilitation in Hong Kong. Copyright © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
CitationKwok, H. K. H., Szeto, G. P. Y., Cheng, A. S. K., Siu, H., & Chan, C. C. H. (2011). Occupational rehabilitation in Hong Kong: Current status and future needs. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 21, S28-S34. doi: 10.1007/s10926-011-9286-4
- Occupational therapy
- Occupational medicine
- Workers' compensation