Effects of a return to work program on the health and barriers to returning to work in head and neck cancer patients: A randomized controlled trial

Ya Lan Chang, Bing Shen Huang, Chien Yu Lin, Ching Fang Chung, Shu Ching Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of a return to work (RTW) program on perceived health status, barriers to returning to work, fear of cancer progression, social support, physical function, and psychosocial function in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients. Methods: A randomized controlled trial with repeated measures was conducted. The 70 HNC patients were randomly assigned into two groups: 35 in the experimental group (RTW) and 35 in the control group (usual care). Patients were assessed at four time points: baseline (T0) (6 months after completing treatment), and then at 9-, 12-, and 15-months (T1, T2, and T3, respectively) after completing treatment. Patients completed a self-reported questionnaire, including measures of perceived health status, barriers to returning to work, fear of cancer progression, social support, physical function, and psychosocial function. Results: Patients in the experimental group had significantly greater perceived health status and better psychosocial function compared to those in the control group. Compared to T0, at T4, participants in both groups had significantly lower levels of barriers to returning to work, fear of cancer progression, social support, and higher levels of physical function. Conclusions: The RTW program effectively improved perceived health status and psychosocial function in HNC patients. Survivorship care should include a transitional return-to-work program to help patients transition back to work. Trial registration: NCT04322695.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100320
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing
Volume10
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 12 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • Head and neck cancer
  • Intervention
  • Return to work
  • Return to work program
  • Survivorship
  • Transitional care

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