Return to work of cancer patients after a multidisciplinary intervention including occupational counselling and physical exercise in cancer patients: A prospective study in the Netherlands

Monique C.J. Leensen, Iris F. Groeneveld, Iris Van Der Heide, Tomas Rejda, Peter L.J. Van Veldhoven, Sietske Van Berkel, Aernout Snoek, Willem H. van Harten, Monique H.W. Frings-Dresen, Angela G.E.M. Boer

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Abstract

Objectives To support return to work (RTW) among cancer patients, a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme was developed which combined occupational counselling with a supervised physical exercise programme during chemotherapy. The aim was to investigate RTW rates of cancer patients and to evaluate changes in work-related quality of life and physical outcomes. Design Longitudinal prospective intervention study using a one-group design. Setting Two hospitals in the Netherlands. Participants Of the eligible patients, 56% participated; 93 patients with a primary diagnosis of cancer receiving chemotherapy and on sick leave were included. Patients completed questionnaires on RTW, the importance of work, work ability (WAI), RTW self-efficacy, fatigue (MFI), and quality of life (EORTC QLQ C-30) at baseline and 6, 12 and 18 months follow-up. Before and after the exercise programme 1-repetition maximum (1RM) muscle strength and cardiorespiratory fitness (VO 2 peak) were assessed. Results Six months after the start of a multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme that combined occupational counselling with a supervised physical exercise programme, 59% of the cancer patients returned to work, 86% at 12 months and 83% at 18 months. In addition, significant improvements (p<0.05) in the importance of work, work ability, RTW self-efficacy, and quality of life were observed, whereas fatigue levels were significantly reduced. After completing the exercise programme, 1RM muscle strength was significantly increased but there was no improvement in VO 2 peak level. Conclusions RTW rates of cancer patients were high after completion of the multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme. A multidisciplinary rehabilitation programme which combines occupational counselling with a supervised physical exercise programme is likely to result in RTW, reduced fatigue and increased importance of work, work ability, and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere014746
JournalBMJ open
Volume7
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Keywords

  • Employment
  • Exercise
  • Neoplasms
  • Occupational status

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