Predictors for Return to Work in Subjects with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Objective. To predict return to work (RTW) at 12 months for patients who either were sick-listed or were at risk to be sick-listed with persistent postconcussion symptoms (PCS) at six to eight weeks after injury. Method. A prospective cohort study of 151 patients with mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) admitted consecutively to outpatient clinics at two University Hospitals in Norway. The study was conducted as part of a randomised clinical trial. Injury characteristics were obtained from the medical records. Sick leave data from one year before to one year after MTBI were obtained from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Service. Self-report questionnaires were used to obtain demographic and symptom profiles. Results. We observed a significant negative association between RTW at 12 months and psychological distress, global functioning, and being sick-listed at two months after MTBI, as well as having been sick-listed the last year before injury. Conclusion. Psychological distress, global functioning postinjury, and the sick leave trajectory of the subjects were negative predictors for RTW. These findings should be taken into consideration when evaluating future vocational rehabilitation models.