PhD ceremony: Ms. A. Muijzer, 12.45 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Dissertation: The assessment of efforts to return to work
Promotor(s): prof. J.W. Groothoff, prof. J.H.B. Geertzen
Faculty: Medical Sciences
Assessment of the efforts that are made during the return-to-work (RTW) process is important to measure the quality of such processes. In several European countries, this assessment is part of the application for disability benefits. It includes activities undertaken by the employee, employer and health professionals. The assessment of RTW Effort Sufficiency (RTW-ES) is designed to ensure that all necessary efforts for an optimal RTW have been undertaken, thereby preventing unnecessary claims for disability benefits. The RTW efforts are considered sufficient if the stakeholders have performed all efforts which could increase the work ability and the chances of RTW for the employee. RTW-ES assessment in the Netherlands is performed after 2 years of sickness absence, prior to the assessment of functional and earning capacity as part of the disability evaluation. Up to date, no evidence based protocols are available for the assessment of RTW-ES. Therefore, we developed an RTW-ES protocol for professionals in the field of RTW and work (dis)ability. The protocol provides a framework including those factors relevant to the assessment of RTW-ES, and is based on results from a survey study and two focus group studies. The introduction of an RTW-ES protocol improves the LE agreement in the RTW-ES assessment, however, no significant effects were found. The feasibility of the new protocol is good. Further research is required to adapt the RTW-ES protocol and to investigate its effects.
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