Difficult entry and return to the labor market: on the professional (re)integration of people with disabilities and chronic health conditions in Poland (The PATHWAYS research project)
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Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków, Poland (Department of Medical Sociology, Chair of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine)
Foundation IRCCS Neurological Institute Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy
European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD), Brussels, Belgium
Aleksandra Piłat   

Jagiellonian University Medical College, Department of Medical Sociology, Chair of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Kopernika 7a, 31-034 Kraków, Poland
Objectives: The objective of this study is to present the barriers existing in Poland to professional integration and reintegration of people with chronic diseases, including mental health conditions, and discuss them on the basis of expert opinions and in comparison with the situation in other European countries. Material and Methods: The research methodology was based on a mixed-methods approach, including literature review, in-depth expert interviews, and a survey (based on a structured questionnaire) performed with experts. Results: The mapping of policies, systems and services facilitating the integration and reintegration of people with chronic diseases in Poland, as well as expert opinions, made it possible to identify many barriers regarding access to support, such as an obligation to have a certificate of disability, and a system of certification by 2 institutions. There are also barriers regarding the support itself, including problems with subsidies and with professional (re)integration services. Conclusions: Poland has a multi-level and multi-sector system of public institutions, which should provide support for people with disabilities and chronic diseases. Nevertheless, the research conducted in Poland indicates an insufficient implementation of the existing solutions.