COBALA is successful with unique approach for reintegration of professionals with long-term absence in the healthcare sector

90% of the participants reintegrates in their own jobs in 6 months.

In 2016 COBALA started two pilots in guiding long-term sick employees with the MASTER YOUR HEALTH program. The participants were coached by the unique approach Personalised Integrative Care® which is simple and effective to enhance the resilience of the personal body (health). By participating in the program the Personal Resilience of the participants increased significant within 6 months. A high Personal Resilience enables us to cope with stress and change and experience happiness.

The program combines traditional wisdom with innovations in healthcare to a personalized approach for the recovery process, inter alia, personal nutrition and lifestyle. Ninety percent of the participants in the program re-integrated within six months after a long absence in their own work. In addition a reduction of use of medications and specialized care was realized. The economic efficiency of the organization was about € 45,000 per participant. Inflows into WIA / WGA and replacement in case of illness are not included in the calculation. The social returns for participants, family, organization and society is high. The simple and effective approach offers prospects for increasing absenteeism in healthcare and the shortage of healthcare professionals. And it makes an important contribution to sustainability.

Increase of personal resilience through participation in the program

During the pilots the personal resilience of the participants was monitored three times. The profile Personal Resilience is the result of a questionnaire which was derived from the questionnaire Positive Health by dr. Machteld Huber. Personal Resilience was measured three times; at the start (red line)
After 3 months of support (light green line) and after 6 months of support (dark green line).

The average Personal Resilience of nine participants was 96 at the start. After 6 months the average Personal Resilience 143 with 8 participants reintegrated in their work. The maximum Personal Resilience is 160. The program re-integrates 90% of the participants in their own work within six months.

Economic efficiency and social return of program is high

Economic Efficiency for the organizations of the nine participants is about € 400,000 in total. The calculation is based only on two years of sick pay.

The MASTER YOUR HEALTH program also reduces costs of extra coaching through case management during the first two years of illness, and a mandatory outplacement, job training and courses for retraining and replacement in case of illness. Also a possible wage penalty by the UWV is prevented. The height of a wage penalty can range from 3-4 months salary to one year’s salary.

The Social Return for participants, family, relatives, colleagues and society is high. Due to the increase in health, participants may partly reduce medication and specialist care is needed less. Participants enjoy a healthy diet and lifestyle after the program. In about 90% of the participants who were overweight at the start of the program a decrease in weight was measured after 6 months.

Prognosis after participating in the program

If participants continue to monitor on the final recommendations progress in health will continue further. Physical function and energy levels will increase. Sustainable employability, productivity and flexibility of the participants has been increased through participation in the program.


The program MASTER YOUR HEALTH is effective to reintegrate long-term sick employees in their own work. The personal resilience increases on eight dimensions, and increases even further at full reintegration. The route is more effective than the current approach of reintegration companies second track. These companies re-integrate a third of the participants. And often these reintegration companies are limited in their ability to reintegrate people to their own work and improve health. With the growing shortage of healthcare professionals and high absenteeism in this sector COBALA’s approach provides perspective.

The MASTER YOUR HEALTH program has also been shown to be useful in preventing burnout among others, reduce pain, depression and decrease obesity.
© Carla Peeters

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