Adaptation and First Step Validation of the ICF Core Set for Vocational Rehabilitation for Cancer Survivors

  • End date
    Feb 3, 2022
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Azienda Unità Sanitaria Locale Reggio Emilia
Updated on 3 August 2021


Return to work (RTW) of cancer survivors (CSs) is an emerging health issue, as cancer incidence, survival rate and prevalent cases have increasing trends and more than 1/3 of CSs are in their working age.

Starting from the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), the Core Set for Vocational Rehabilitation (CS-VR) has been developed to comprehensively describe work functioning of individuals reporting difficulties and in need of VR. The CS-VR guides the multidisciplinary assessment of individuals and the planning of appropriate VR interventions but, to date, it has been tested only in spinal cord injury and musculoskeletal diseases. Thus, verifying the appropriateness of the CS-VR in a population of cancer survivors seems a step forward.

This sequential mixed method study aims to adapt and validate the CS-VR in Italian cancer survivors, defining the minimum standard of work functioning areas to assess in this population.


Starting from the CS-VR, this study aims to define the CS-VR-Onco, an ICF core set consistent with cancer survivors' needs.

CS-VR-Onco will guide professionals in:

  1. comprehensively assessing work functioning
  2. identifying the areas of work functioning in which the VR intervention is relevant
  3. identifying patients who would benefit most from VR
  4. measuring work functioning pre-post VR

This sequential exploratory design involves multiple phases of qualitative (phase 1) and quantitative (phase 2) data collection.

Qualitative_phase 1, To adapt the CS-VR: 1.a_Focus groups (FGs) will be organized with CSs selected from the UNAMANO project (NCT03666936), the Cancer Registry of Reggio Emilia, the General Practitioners of the province of Reggio Emilia and the voluntary non-profit associations of cancer patients. During the FGs, we will ask participants to name and reflect on barriers and facilitators influencing their RTW process. Further, the FGs will address those ICF components from which the CS-VR categories were extracted. 1.b_Consensus-based approach with a sample of stakeholders of the RTW process. We will integrate evidence gathered from phase 1.a and the literature to develop the minimum standard for the assessment of work functioning in this population (CS-VR-Onco).

Quantitative_phase 2, To validate the CS-VR-Onco: 2.a_Cross-sectional survey of CSs extracted from the Cancer Registry of Reggio Emilia. Through a guided interview based on the categories of the CS-VR-Onco, we will ask participants to report their work difficulties. 2.b_Longitudinal study on cancer patients recently diagnosed with cancer referred to UNAMANO project for VR. Before and after the VR, CS-VR-Onco will be administer to identify patients' needs. Additionally, participants will be assessed with valid measurement tools (when present) pertinent to the CS-VR-Onco categories identified.

Condition Cancer Survivors
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04439461
SponsorAzienda Unità Sanitaria Locale Reggio Emilia
Last Modified on3 August 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Stakeholders who handle the RTW process: healthcare professionals, social workers, CSs, caregivers, employers, nonprofit associations, vocational counsellors, etc

Exclusion Criteria

comorbidities that limit communication or collaboration (i.e., aphasia, dementia, etc.)
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