Background Return to work (RTW) is an important marker of recovery from injury. There is substantial evidence that RTW is associated with higher levels of self-rated health, quality of life, greater social inclusion and reduction in ongoing disability. There are multiple RTW metrics reported in the literature and little consensus regarding the most appropriate.
Aim To compare RTW rates following transport injury using a number of criterion.
Method Six-hundred and one individuals (328 males) injured in a transport accident completed a telephone survey between 6 months and 10 years (mean 3.5 years) post injury. Four hundred and forty participants (73.2%) were working at injury, with 289 (48.1%) working >35 h per week.
Results 69.4% of those working at injury had achieved any RTW since injury, with fewer currently working (59.2%) or achieving sustained (57.6%), current and sustained (54.1%) or full RTW (37.6%). RTW rates were greater for those working >35 h per week prior to injury, with 86.9% achieving any RTW and 45.7% achieving a full RTW (defined as >35 h employment per week). In contract, rates in those not working prior to injury were much lower, with 29.2% achieving any RTW and 16.1% achieving a full RTW. RTW rates also varied significantly according to time post injury and occupation.
Conclusion Conclusions regarding injury recovery can vary greatly depending on the RTW criterion utilised and sample characteristics.
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