Background: To assess possible psychophysiological changes in personnel being exposed to organizational change and to assess the effects of a structured empowerment programme.
Methods: A randomized, prospective, controlled, and non-blinded intervention was carried out in two wards within a geriatric hospital. The I-ward (intervention) was offered a structured intervention programme with a trained, registered psychologist during 20 weekly 1-hour sessions before and after the organizational change. The C-ward (control) was passively attended by the same psychologist during equal time conditions. Blood pressure as well as pulse rate were taken and blood samples were drawn from all participants before (0 weeks), immediately after the intervention (20 weeks) and after another 10 weeks' follow-up (30 weeks).
Results: There was a significant time x group interaction with increasing prolactin levels on the C-ward as compared to decreasing levels on the I-ward during the intervention.
Conclusions: Our study results suggest a picture of differentiated changes in stress hormone levels. The I-ward exhibited less psychoendocrine stress compared to the C-ward, probably due to the intervention and the possibility for personnel to influence the programme. We suggest that psychosocial empowerment programmes are beneficial when organizational changes are enacted in health care settings.