Long-term employment outcomes following traumatic brain injury and orthopaedic trauma: A ten-year prospective study
Jane Dahm, Jennie Ponsford
School of Psychological Sciences, Building 17, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, 3800, Australia. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Objective: To investigate the trajectory and predictors of employment over a period of 10 years following traumatic brain injury and traumatic orthopaedic injury.
Design: Prospective follow-up at 1, 2, 5 and 10 years post-injury.
Participants: Seventy-nine individuals with traumatic brain injury and 79 with traumatic orthopaedic injury recruited from Epworth HealthCare in Melbourne, Australia during inpatient rehabilitation.
Methods: Information was obtained from medical files and self-report questionnaires.
Results: Individuals with traumatic brain injury were less likely to be competitively employed during the period up to 10 years post-injury compared with individuals with traumatic orthopaedic injury, although there was evidence of increasing employment participation during that time. More severe traumatic brain injury, older age, pre-injury psychological treatment, and studying or having a blue-collar occupation at time of injury were associated with poorer employment outcomes. Individuals with traumatic brain injury had spent less time with their current employer and were less likely to have increased responsibility since the injury than those with traumatic orthopaedic injury. At least half of each group reported difficulty at work due to fatigue.
Conclusion: Given the potential for gains in employment participation over an extended time-frame, there may be benefit in ongoing access to individualized vocational rehabilitation. Particular areas of focus would include managing fatigue and psychiatric disorders, and exploring supported occupational activity for all levels of injury severity.
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