Return to Work After Severe Traumatic Brain Injury: A Nationwide Follow-up Study

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Abstract

Objective:

To determine return to work (RTW) after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to compare long-term labor market attachment (LMA) with the general population.

Participants:

All persons aged 18 to 64 years who received highly specialized neurorehabilitation after severe TBI between 2004 and 2012 (n = 637) were matched to general population controls on age, sex, preinjury employment status, educational level, and residence (n = 2497).

Design:

Nationwide follow-up study using weekly records on public assistance benefits.

Main Measures:

Both RTW and LMA were defined as having no public assistance benefits except education grants/leave. Stable LMA was defined as weeks with LMA of 75% or more. LMA among persons with severe TBI and controls was compared using multivariable conditional logistic regression.

Results:

RTW mainly occurred within first 2 years after severe TBI, with 30% of the people attempting RTW and 16% achieving stable LMA within 2 years. The prevalence of people with LMA decreased to 11% from 2½ years to 5 years postinjury. Adjusted odds ratios were 0.01 for LMA up to 2 years postinjury and 0.05 for stable LMA for persons with severe TBI compared with the general population.

Conclusion:

Both RTW and long-term LMA after severe TBI were low in Denmark when compared with the general population and other countries.

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