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RTW-PIA - Intensified return to Work (RTW) aftercare in psychiatric outpatient clinics of psychiatric hospitals

Project number: F 2538 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Ongoing Project


Mental health problems have significant economic and health political consequences. They involve a high risk of relapse and chronicity and represent one of the most frequent causes for sick leave and early retirement.

At the intersection of the mental healthcare system and the workplace, a coordinated and harmonised approach can promote a stable, sustainable return to work (RTW) after a mental disorder. It can also reduce renewed prolonged absence periods due to sickness, as well as the risk of reduced earning capacity through improved relapse prevention.

The effectiveness of an intensified RTW support and aftercare in psychiatric outpatient clinics (Psychiatrische Institutsambulanzen [PIAs]) of psychiatric hospitals will be examined through a multicentre, randomized controlled trial. The focus is on maintaining and restoring the workability and earning capacity of employees with mental health problems in terms of a sustainable RTW.

The new form of care combines three sequential modules that are initiated and implemented by the PIAs during clinical treatment and throughout RTW at the company: RTW consultation and coaching, RTW aftercare groups and accompanying web-based aftercare.

The RTW PIA goals are:

  1. more sustainable RTW without renewed prolonged absence periods due to sickness,
  2. reduction of the risk of reduced earning capacity through improved relapse prevention and
  3. cost reduction for social insurances, companies and society.

The study is funded by the Innovation Fund of the Federal Joint Committee (Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss [G-BA]) for a period of four years. The Hannover Medical School is the consortium leader. BAuA is responsible for the quantitative and qualitative effectiveness - and process evaluation. A health economic evaluation will be conducted by the project partner from the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg. In case of a positive evaluation, there is a prospect of transferring the intensified RTW PIA aftercare to regular care.


Unit 3.5 "Evidence-based Occupational Health, Workplace Health Management"

Phone: +49 231 9071-1971 Fax: +49 231 9071-2070

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