Return to work after a serious hand injury

Objectives: This paper explores factors important for return to work (RTW) in people who have sustained a serious hand injury. Participants: Forty people aged 19-64, with a severe or major hand injury were recruited consecutively during 2005-2007. Methods: A self-administered and study specific questionnaire, including demographic data and standardised questionnaires for function, disability, daily occupations, health, quality of life, sense of coherence and several open questions was sent out by mail twelve months after injury. Open questions regarding RTW were also included. Results: The results showed that 27 people had returned to work within twelve months and 13 had not. Factors related to RTW and general work motivations were divided into individual factors, and factors related to the work environment and rehabilitation. The most prominent differences between the groups were individual factors, such as higher perceived disability, reduced hand function, and dissatisfaction with daily occupations resulting in a lower physical quality of life. The no RTW group had also more ward days (inpatient care) and lower sense of coherence. Conclusions: These findings support the idea that the RTW process can be more dependent on the person's own ability and motivation than on the severity of the hand injury. Suggestions for intervention and further studies are presented in the discussion.

Source : Ramel E, Rosberg HE, Dahlin LB, Cederlund RI. Return to work after a serious hand injury. Work 2012; ePub.

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