Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 350–365

Bridging Health Care and the Workplace: Formulation of a Return-to-Work Intervention for Breast Cancer Patients Using an Intervention Mapping Approach

  • Huguette A. M. Désiron
  • Rik Crutzen
  • Lode Godderis
  • Elke Van Hoof
  • Angelique de Rijk

DOI: 10.1007/s10926-015-9620-3

Cite this article as:
Désiron, H.A.M., Crutzen, R., Godderis, L. et al. J Occup Rehabil (2016) 26: 350. doi:10.1007/s10926-015-9620-3


Purpose An increasing number of breast cancer (BC) survivors of working age require return to work (RTW) support. Objective of this paper is to describe the development of a RTW intervention to be embedded in the care process bridging the gap between hospital and workplace. Method The Intervention Mapping (IM) approach was used and combined formative research results regarding RTW in BC patients with published insights on occupational therapy (OT) and RTW. Four development steps were taken, starting from needs assessment to the development of intervention components and materials. Results A five-phased RTW intervention guided by a hospital-based occupational therapist is proposed: (1) assessing the worker, the usual work and contextual factors which impacts on (re-)employment; (2) exploration of match/differences between the worker and the usual work; (3) establishing long term goals, broken down into short term goals; (4) setting up tailored actions by carefully implementing results of preceding phases; (5) step by step, the program as described in phase 4 will be executed. The occupational therapist monitors, measures and reviews goals and program-steps in the intervention to secure the tailor-made approach of each program-step of the intervention. Conclusion The use of IM resulted in a RTW oriented OT intervention. This unique intervention succeeds in matching individual BC patient needs, the input of stakeholders at the hospital and the workplace.


Breast cancer Occupational therapy Return to work Intervention Mapping Vocational rehabilitation 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Kom Op Tegen Kanker
  • ZKC9287-PS-001

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huguette A. M. Désiron
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rik Crutzen
    • 3
  • Lode Godderis
    • 1
    • 4
  • Elke Van Hoof
    • 5
  • Angelique de Rijk
    • 6
  1. 1.Centre Environment and HealthKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLouvainBelgium
  2. 2.Occupational Therapy Education, Department of Health CareUniversity College of Hasselt PXLHasseltBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Health Promotion, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary CareMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  4. 4.IDEWE, External Service for Prevention and Protection at WorkHeverleeBelgium
  5. 5.Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology (EXTO), Faculty of Psychological and Educational ScienceVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  6. 6.Department of Social Medicine, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life SciencesMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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