Content » Vol 42, Issue 2

Original report

Determinants of return to work following non life threatening acute orthopaedic trauma: a prospective cohort study

Fiona J Clay, Stuart. V. Newstead, Wendy. L. Watson , Roderick. J. McClure
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0495


Objective: To determine factors associated with return to work following acute non-life-threatening orthopaedic trauma.
Design: Prospective cohort study.
Participants: One hundred and sixty-eight participants were recruited and followed for 6 months. The study achieved 89% participant follow-up.
Methods: Baseline data were obtained by survey and medical record review. Participants were further surveyed at 2 weeks, 3 and 6 months post-injury. Logistic regression was used to examine the association between potential predictors and first return to work by these 3 time-points.
Results: Sixty-eight percent of participants returned to work within 6 months. Those who sustained isolated upper extre­mity injuries were more likely to return to work early. Significant positive determinants of return to work included a strong belief in recovery, the presence of an isolated injury, education to university level and self-employment. Determinants associated with non-return to work included the receipt of compensation, older age, pain attitudes and blue-collar work. The primary reason given for return to work was financial security.
Conclusion: Demographic, injury, occupation and psychosocial factors were significant predictors of return to work. The relative importance of factors at different time-points suggests that return to work is a multifactorial process that involves the complex interaction of many factors in a time-dependent manner.

Lay Abstract


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