Acquired brain injury (ABI) is known to be severely disabling. On average, 40% of employees return to work (RTW) within two years after injury. There is, however, limited research on what might contribute to successful RTW.
To examine factors that might impact the time-to first RTW for patients with ABI, participating in a RTW-program.
The study was designed as a cohort study of patients on sick leave due to mild or moderate ABI (n = 137). The mean age of the patients was 51 years, and 58% were men. The most common diagnoses were stroke (75%) and traumatic brain injury (12%). Data were collected through questionnaires, and combined with register data on sickness absence. Survival analyses were used to analyse the effect of different variables on time to first RTW (full or partial), at one- and two-year follow-up.
Generally, women (HR = 0.447; CI: 0.239-0.283) had higher RTW-rates than men, and patients with non-comorbid impairments returned to work earlier than patients with multiple impairments. Although not statistically significant, receiving individual consultations and participating in group-sessions were generally associated with a delayed RTW at both follow-up-times. The only service-related factor significantly associated with delayed RTW was meetings with the social insurance office (HR = 0.522; CI: 0.282-0.965), and only at one-year follow-up.
Women and patients with non-comorbid impairments returned to work earlier than men and patients with multiple impairments. There seems to be an association between intense and long-lasting participation in the RTW program and prolonged time-to first-RTW, even after controlling for level of cognitive impairments and comorbidity.
- Acquired brain injury
- TERM SICKNESS ABSENCE
- disability management
- occupational rehabilitation
- traumatic brain injury
- workplace disability prevention and integration