Shared decision making from reintegration professionals" perspectives to support return to work: a qualitative study
van Kesteren, N.
Background: Work participation is an important determinant of public health; being unemployed leads to a decrease in an individual's health. In the Netherlands, people with a work disability can apply for disability benefits, in which people also receive support to return to work (RTW). A method, currently used in the medical sector, that can include both the perspective of the reintegration professional and of the individual in the process of RTW, is shared decision making (SDM). In this article we explore to what extent reintegration professionals currently use SDM, and to what extent they prefer to use SDM in their ideal interaction with clients. Methods: We performed semi-structured interviews with fourteen reintegration professionals from four different municipalities. The transcripts were coded according to content analysis, applying open and axial coding. Results: Reintegration professionals emphasised the importance of having a good relationship with clients, of building trust and collaborating as a team. They did not inform their clients that they could be part of the decision-making process, or discussed a shared goal. Although professionals did emphasise the importance of aligning their approach with the preferences of the client and though they tried to offer some choice options, they did not mention available options, discussed the pros and cons of these options or evaluated decisions with their clients. Furthermore, they did not mention any of these aspects in their ideal interaction with clients. Conclusions: SDM has a potential value, because all professionals underline the importance of having an alliance with clients, collaborating as a team, and striving to align their approach with the preferences of the client. However, professionals currently perform a limited set of SDM steps. Additional knowledge and skills are needed for both reintegration professionals and municipalities so that professionals can consider and reflect on the value of using SDM, or SDM steps, in supporting RTW. Providing clients with knowledge and skills seems necessary to facilitate both self-management and SDM.
To reference this document use:
Return to work
Shared decision making.
Healthy for Life
SP - Sustainable Productivity and Employability
ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences
BMC Public Health, 21 (21), 325