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The padcura app: supporting people with reduced earning capacity into employment

padacura app

In the framework of the 2023 European Social Services Conference, the journal, Social Services collaborated with the European Social Network to produce a series of articles from conference contributors on the theme of the digital and technological transformation of social services.

The following article is a summary of the paper submitted by Regina Weissmann (Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt), Annette Grimmel-Bruhns (Pro-Arbeit), Corinna Manuela Busacker (Jobnet) and Fanny Lara Clara Loth on the development of the padaCura app, to support people with reduces learning capacity into employment.

The full report can be found here.

The ‘Cooperation for prevention, fitness and health in the job centre (KOPF22)’ project in Germany is a pioneering initiative focused on early risk detection and prevention strategies for clients of the job center, particularly those receiving the Citizen’s Income. The project acknowledges the unique challenges faced by these individuals in maintaining their ability to work and aims to address them through the development of the padaCura App.

The urgency of such initiatives becomes evident when considering the 2020 pension statistics of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. These statistics revealed that over 1.7 million individuals in Germany received disability pensions due to reduced earning capacity. The consequences associated with reduced earning capacity are far-reaching, affecting various aspects of individuals’ lives. Those with low work capacity often report lower quality of life, increased depressive symptoms, sleeping disorders, anxiety, and difficulties in meeting everyday demands related to household, family, and leisure activities.

Recognizing the profound impact of reduced earning capacity, the ‘Cooperation for prevention, fitness and health in the job centre (KOPF22)’ project becomes crucial. It is one of 101 funded projects in the federal program ‘rehapro,’ which aims to preserve and restore earning capacity while addressing threatened or existing earning capacity issues. The project seeks to develop prevention strategies to avoid work disability and reduced earning capacity, promoting early risk detection.

At the core of the project, the padaCura App plays a pivotal role in assessing the risk of reduced earning capacity among job center clients. This innovative tool employs an International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF)-based questionnaire to evaluate the individual risk factors. The app goes beyond mere assessment by providing immediate feedback reports to clients, allowing them to make informed decisions based on the results.

Initial evaluations of the app and the accompanying questionnaire have demonstrated its effectiveness in differentiating between employable persons and those facing incapacitation. The significance of this differentiation lies in its potential to inform targeted interventions and guide future developments. The project envisions enhancing the result reports generated by the app and fostering collaboration between employment support resources and healthcare systems to better meet the diverse needs of clients.

In conclusion, the development of the padaCura App represents a significant stride in addressing the complex issue of reduced earning capacity among job center clients. The incorporation of the padaCura questionnaire as a crucial initial step towards standardized assessments, coupled with immediate feedback reports and consultation guidelines, enhances the counseling process. Looking forward, the project underscores the need for ongoing refinement of result reports and collaboration between employment support resources and healthcare systems to comprehensively meet the diverse needs of clients.