Purpose: To investigate the feasibility of Family Group Conference for promoting return to work by clients receiving work disability benefits from the Social Security Institute in the Netherlands.
Methods: We conducted a mixed-method pre- post-intervention feasibility study, using questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and return to work plans drafted in Family Group Conferences. A convenient sample of Labour experts, Clients, and Facilitators was followed for a period of six months. Feasibility outcomes were demand, acceptability, implementation and limited efficacy of perceived mental health and level of participation.
Results: Fourteen labour experts and sixteen facilitators enrolled in the study. Of 28 eligible clients, nine (32%) participated in a Family Group Conference. About 78% of the Family Group Conferences were implemented as planned. Participant satisfaction about Family Group Conference was good (mean score 7). Perceived mental health and level of participation improved slightly during follow-up. Most actions in the return to work plans were work related. Most frequently chosen to take action was the participating client himself, supported by significant others in his or her social network. Six months after the Family Group Conference five participating clients returned to paid or voluntary work.
Conclusions: Family Group Conference seems a feasible intervention to promote return to work by clients on work disability benefit. Involvement of the social network may have added value to support the clients in this process. An effectiveness study to further develop and test Family Group Conferences is recommended.