Using intervention mapping to develop a work-related guidance tool for those affected by cancer




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Peer reviewed



Background: Working-aged individuals diagnosed and treated for cancer require support and assistance to make decisions regarding work. However, healthcare professionals do not consider the work-related needs of patients and employers do not understand the full impact cancer can have upon the employee and their work. We therefore developed a work-related guidance tool for those diagnosed with cancer that enables them to take the lead in stimulating discussion with a range of different healthcare professionals, employers, employment agencies and support services. The tool facilitates discussions through a set of questions individuals can utilise to find solutions and minimise the impact cancer diagnosis, prognosis and treatment may have on their employment, sick leave and return to work outcomes. The objective of the present article is to describe the systematic development and content of the tool using Intervention Mapping Protocol (IMP). Methods: The study used the first five steps of the intervention mapping process to guide the development of the tool. A needs assessment identified the ‘gaps’ in information/advice received from healthcare professionals and other stakeholders. The intended outcomes and performance objectives for the tool were then identified followed by theory-based methods and an implementation plan. A draft of the tool was developed and subjected to a two-stage Delphi process with various stakeholders. The final tool was piloted with 38 individuals at various stages of the cancer journey. Results: The tool was designed to be a self-led tool that can be used by any person with a cancer diagnosis and working for most types of employers. The pilot study indicated that the tool was relevant and much needed. Conclusions: Intervention Mapping is a valuable protocol for designing complex guidance tools. The process and design of this particular tool can lend itself to other situations both occupational and more health-care based.



Cancer, intervention mapping, return to work


Munir, F., Kalawsky, K., Wallis, D.J., and Donaldson-Feilder, E. (2013) Using intervention mapping to develop a work-related guidance tool for those affected by cancer. BMC Public Health, 13 (6)


Research Institute