Plain English Summary
Background and study aims
People with severe mental illness should have access to competitive employment in order to improve their chances of social integration. At present the most successful approach is supported employment, where a job coach helps patients to find competitive employment as soon as possible, corresponding to their wishes, and continues to support them, so that jobs can be held down as long as possible. Studies have found that the goal of taking up employment within 2 months is rarely achieved. The aim of this study is to find out whether limiting the number of working hours the job coach spends finding a job for each patient (the placement budget) leads to a faster take up of competitive employment. If this is true, the job coach could invest more working hours supporting the patient on the job and his/her employer.
Who can participate?
Patients of working age (18-60) undergoing treatment in one of the six participating outpatient psychiatric clinics, who have been unemployed for 12 months and are looking for competitive employment.
What does the study involve?
Participants are randomly allocated to one of three set placement budgets (either 25, 40 or 55 hours with the job coach). They are supported by a job coach for a maximum of 2 years. As part of this process an interview lasting about one hour takes place upon entering the study and every six months thereafter, regardless of whether the participant is still in the job coaching or not. The questioning of the participants therefore stretches over a period of 3 years.
What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
Not provided at time of registration.
Where is the study run from?
Six outpatient psychiatric clinics in the Canton of Zurich (Switzerland).
When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
June 2010 to May 2014.
Who is funding the study?
The Zurich Program for Sustainable Development of Mental Health Services (ZInEP).
Who is the main contact?
Dr Carlos Nordt
Placement Budgets for supported employment - improving competitive employment for people with mental illness: a randomized controlled trial
1. The more limited the amount of working hours of a job coach to find a job (limited placement budget) the faster a placement in the open, competitive employment. If this is true, the job coach could invest more working hours to support the patient on the job and his/her employer.
2. Reveal factors for fast job placement and long-term job tenure. Primary issues are motivation, stigmatization, social network and social support, quality of life, job satisfaction, financial situation, and health conditions. Neuro-cognitive tests will be conducted to control confounding variables.
Zurich Cantonal Ethics Committee (CEC), Division 3 (Kantonale Ethik-Kommission Zürich (KEK) Abteilung 3), 30/09/2009, ref E-51/2009
Multicentre randomized controlled trial
Primary study design
Secondary study design
Randomised controlled trial
Quality of life
Patient information sheet
Supported Employment according to the IPS (Individual Placement and Support) model, randomizing the patients to three different placement budgets of 25h, 40h, or 55h working hours of the job coaches. Supported Employment lasts two years for those who find a job. The intervention ends if the placement budgets run out for those who didnt find a competitive employment.
Primary outcome measure
Time between study inclusion and first competitive employment that lasted 3 months or longer
Secondary outcome measures
3. Social network and social support
4. Quality of life
5. Job satisfaction
6. Financial situation
7. Health conditions
Measured at baseline (t0) and every six months thereafter (t1-t6)
Overall trial start date
Overall trial end date
Reason abandoned (if study stopped)
Participant inclusion criteria
1. Current treatment in one of the six participating outpatient psychiatric clinics
2. Twelve months unemployment and no program of vocational integration over the last three months
3. Motivation to work in competitive employment
4. Working age (18-60 years)
5. Resident in the canton of Zurich
6. Willing and capable of giving informed consent
Target number of participants
Participant exclusion criteria
1. Severe organic illness (ICD-10, F0)
1. Insufficient knowledge of German
Recruitment start date
Recruitment end date
Countries of recruitment
Trial participating centre
Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich
Department of Health Canton Zurich (Gesundheitsdirektion Kanton Zürich) (Switzerland)
Funding Body Type
Funding Body Subtype
Results and Publications
Publication and dissemination plan
Not provided at time of registration
Intention to publish date
Participant level data
Not provided at time of registration
Basic results (scientific)
2012 protocol in: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23034095
Nordt C, Brantschen E, Kawohl W, Bärtsch B, Haker H, Rüsch N, Rössler W, 'Placement budgets' for supported employment--improving competitive employment for people with mental illness: study protocol of a multicentre randomized controlled trial., BMC Psychiatry, 2012, 12, 165, doi: 10.1186/1471-244X-12-165.