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Social workers

Many municipal case workers will be meeting citizens on sick leave because of a functional disorder, and co-operation between everyone involved is essential. It is especially important to have a joint effort involving the healthcare system, the social services and the job market, employers, unemployment funding, the citizen and any relevant network.

It is likewise important that trade groups of the social and labour market areas are aware of and focus on the bio-psycho-social connections when meeting citizens with functional disorders. The job is to do an assessment as quickly as possible and begin treatment as well as initiate job targeted efforts. The goal is for the affected citizens to keep their jobs and to avoid that the condition becomes chronic.

The social aspect and the job market

For those citizens with a functional disorder who get into contact with the local social services (in connection with sick pay, social security, flex job, incapacity benefit, rehabilitation, social initiatives, etc.) social workers and occupational consultants play an important role. In this situation the citizen can be closely followed and a holistic approach involving both the health and social situations, relief etc. can be taken. 

What characterises a citizen with functional disorders?

  • Long-term or repeated sick leave
  • A complicated case history
  • Long periods with the social worker and citizen awaiting test results or a specialist's assessment statement
  • The citizen's disease does not fit into local laws and regulations
  • Some lose their foundation for provision of their family
  • Some cannot return to their job on ordinary terms
  • 10-15% of those who are granted incapacity benefit have a functional disorder.

Many patients say that they feel under suspicion and frowned upon – both in their immediate surroundings, in the healthcare system and in other public sectors.


What can the social worker do?

  • Acknowledge that a functional disorder can be a difficult and long-term condition
  • Citizens with functional disorders must neither be overtaxed nor overlooked
  • Help the citizen find an activity level that is fitting here and now
  • Accept that rehabilitation has to be slow and gradual
  • Learn to look at the functional disorder through a bio-psycho-social perspective. The citizen is not mentally ill, but the functional disorder has probably been triggered and worsened by biological, physical, psychological or social stress
  • Be optimistic
  • Most citizens with functional disorders can get better. However, not all will recover. 
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Dissemination of information to the social sector

Social workers and other specialists are always welcome to contact the research clinic's social workers.

Furthermore, we have experience with instructing municipal case workers, management consultants, project managers, physiotherapists and social doctors in functional disorders.


Anne-Dorte Lange

Social communicator
Ph: +45 7846 4310


Bente Nymark

Social worker
Ph: +45 7846 4341

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Revised 03.10.2017