Chronic conditions are the leading cause of disability worldwide. Prevalences are as high as over 30% of adults in Europe and the Netherlands. Chronic conditions can limit one’s ability of people to perform daily activities and to participate in society, including work. In addition, increasing numbers of young people with chronic conditions or physical disabilities live into adulthood and need to make a successful transition from education to finding and keeping a job.
Work is one of the domains of participation that are most important to people. Finding and keeping a job is reported to be a major problem for people with a chronic condition and physical or mental disabilities. The health-related problems with regard to work participation contribute to substantial lower work participation rates among people with a chronic condition or disabilities, compared to the general population. Working people with a chronic condition frequently report difficulties to meet job demands (e.g., work hours, work tasks or work pace), difficulties to perform specific work tasks, problems with mobility at the workplace, transportation to the workplace or accessibility of rooms or buildings, and with relations with colleagues and balancing work and private life.
The main focus of Harald Miedema's research are these work-related problems caused by chronic conditions and disabilities. His research is particularly concerned with research of factors that influence return to work and reintegration, and with the effectiveness of interventions that aim at improvement of work participation. Ongoing research includes the conditions low back pain, complaints of arm, neck and shoulder, HIV, pregnancy-related work problems and young people with chronic physical disabilities in general. Harald is jointly responsible for the SPIL academic working group, which is a collaboration with Erasmus MC directed towards self-management and participation of adolescents with a chronic condition. In this working group, professionals from practice team up with researchers, PhD candidates, teachers and students to develop and evaluate new healthcare concepts and interventions. Recently, another academic working group was set up with focus on young people with autism.
In addition to the Work and Health theme, Harald has directed more attention towards research in the field of Physical Therapy, and in close collaboration with the educational department of Physical Therapy. He started initiatives for research of the use of PROMs (Patient Reported Outcome Measures) and E-health in Physical Therapy, as well as some diagnostic interventions.
Erasmus MC - Departments of General Practice, Public Health, Rehabilitation, Infectious Diseases and Sophia Children’s Hospital; Dutch HIV Association; Dutch RSI association, Royal Dutch Association for Physical Therapy; Rijndam Rehabilitation Centre Rotterdam; Spine and Joint Centre Rotterdam; Cirion Foundation; Veldon; VUMC - EMGO-institute; AMC - Coronel Institute; Arnhem-Nijmegen University of Applied Sciences - research group Work and Health; Academicals Network Autism; Regional Consortium Pregnancy & Childbirth.