Good Practice: Early Vocational Rehabilitation: An Intervention

Early Vocational Rehabilitation

Organisation / country Heliomare / The Netherlands
Main Field
Vocational rehabilitation & employment
Acquired Brain Injury
Short description The Early Intervention Network (Foundation) provides services at an early stage of an individual’s absence from work due to illness or disability. They take a multidisciplinary, personalised approach to provide individual and group treatment, guidance and after care. They determine health care or vocational rehabilitation needs, and aim to resume workplace reintegration immediately after the start of rehabilitation.
The Early Vocational Rehabilitation (EVR) protocol is a process guideline to facilitate the interdisciplinary rehabilitation team of a rehabilitation center to systematically focus on return to work during an early stage of (inpatient or outpatient) rehabilitation of people with acquired brain injury.
Mainstreaming activities includes organising vocational rehabilitation workshop days for professionals, sharing tools and results, and general approaches for different stakeholders.
Direct impact The objective is to reduce medical treatment, medicine use and social costs. Early intervention prevents the chronicity of complaints and, as a result, reduces longer term costs for the healthcare system.
To improve vocational rehabilitation for the unemployed and/or economically inactive population, employees who are absent in the long term, employees with physical and coping disabilities, people with frequent (para)medical contacts, and people with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Fast rehabilitation of people with acquired brain injury. There are indications that specialist vocational rehabilitation is beneficial when trying to return to work after acquired brain injury (ABI).

Conclusions and results
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Increased self-esteem and independence
  • Increased work opportunities for the target population
  • Vocational rehabilitation strategies based on good practices and experiences from the
  • network’s members
  • Members of the network provided with vocational rehabilitation knowledge and skills
  • Research and development on vocational rehabilitation carried out
  • Improved vocational rehabilitation for other target groups such as people with brain injury or
  • audiology problems
The EVR protocol consists of four stages: 1) orientation of the rehabilitation team towards the patient's work; 2) investigating the gap between the patient's abilities and work; 3) work training; and 4) finalizing EVR. Cooperation among all relevant partners from inside or outside the rehabilitation institute is important for maximally adapting the EVR treatment to the individual (work) situation of the person with ABI. CONCLUSION: The EVR protocol is available for implementation in other rehabilitation institutes. Performing a context analysis for each new context in which it is implemented is recommended.

Early vocational rehabilitation reduces social exclusion for the unemployed. This vocational rehabilitation project has been recognised as a success story in the Netherlands. The network works with Fit for Work (NL/EU) and consists of nine rehabilitation centres in 17 locations spread throughout the Netherlands.
Contact details / more information Project manager – Michel Edelaar.
More information at:
Duration and budget
2002 – 2018.
Budget: 100 000 euro (per/year).