A Conceptual-Practice Model for Occupational Therapy to Facilitate Return to Work in Breast Cancer Patients

Huguette A. M. Desiron*, Peter Donceel, Angelique de Rijk, Elke Van Hoof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose Improved therapies and early detection have significantly increased the number of breast cancers survivors, leading to increasing needs regarding return to work (RTW). Occupational therapy (OT) interventions provide successful RTW assistance for other conditions, but are not validated in breast cancer. This paper aims to identify a theoretical framework for OT intervention by questioning how OT models can be used in OT interventions in RTW of breast cancer patients; criteria to be used to select these models and adaptations that would be necessary to match the OT model(s) to breast cancer patients' needs? Methods Using research specific criteria derived from OT literature (conceptual OT-model, multidisciplinary, referring to the International Classification of functioning (ICF), RTW in breast cancer) a search in 9 electronic databases was conducted to select articles that describe conceptual OT models. A content analysis of those models complying to at least two of the selection criteria was realised. Checking for breast cancer specific issues, results were matched with literature of care-models regarding RTW in breast cancer. Results From the nine models initially identified, three [Canadian Model of Occupational Performance, Model of Human Occupation (MOHO), Person-Environment-Occupation-Performance model] were selected based on the selection criteria. The MOHO had the highest compliance rate with the criteria. To enhance usability in breast cancer, some adaptations are needed. Conclusion No OT model to facilitate RTW in breast cancer could be identified, indicating a need to fill this gap. Individual and societal needs of breast cancer patients can be answered by using a MOHO-based OT model, extended with indications for better treatment, work-outcomes and longitudinal process factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)516-526
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


  • Conceptual practice model
  • Model of Human Occupation
  • Labour participation
  • Return to work
  • Occupational therapy
  • Breast cancer

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