Return to Work After Severe Multiple Injuries: A Multidimensional Approach on Status 1 and 2 Years Postinjury

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Background:The assessment of factors associated with return to work (RTW) after multiple trauma is important in trauma research. Goals in rehabilitation should comprise RTW. The purpose of this study was to examine the RTW rate and which factors predicted RTW for patients with severe multiple injuries using a prospective cohort design.Methods:In all, 100 patients with a New Injury Severity Score (NISS) >15, aged 18 to 67 years and admitted to a trauma referral center, were included starting January 2002 through June 2003. Outcomes were assessed 6 weeks after discharge and 1 and 2 years postinjury. Instruments were the Brief Approach/Avoidance Coping Questionnaire, Multidimensional Health Locus of Control, Short Form-36, the World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule II, and a cognitive function scale (COG).Results:Mean age was 34.5 years (SD 13.5), 83% were male, and 66% were blue-collar workers. Mean NISS was 35.1 (SD 12.7). At 1 year, 28% achieved complete RTW, 43% at 2 years. Mean time back to work was 12.8 months (SD 5.9). Differences between the RTW and not complete RTW (NRTW) groups concerned personal and demographic variables, and physical and psychosocial functioning. Survival analysis showed that risk factors for NRTW were lower education, length of stay in hospital/rehabilitation >20 weeks, and low social functioning shortly after the return home.Conclusion:The majority of the patients had not completely returned to work 2 years postinjury. Demographic and injury related factors and social functioning were significant predictors of RTW status.

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