Prognostic factors of return to work after traumatic or non-traumatic acquired brain injury

PURPOSE: To investigate and to determine evidence of prognostic factors for return to work (RTW) after acquired brain injury (ABI).
METHOD: A systematic literature search was conducted in PubMed (2008-2014), applying terms for ABI and RTW. In addition, studies published after 2003 of a previous review on the same topic were added. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed and evidence was classified.
RESULTS: Twenty-seven studies were included. There is strong evidence that a high education level is positively associated with RTW after traumatic ABI; a low education level, unemployment and length of stay in rehabilitation are negatively associated, and a clear tendency has been deduced from the studies that conscious state in the Emergency Department is not associated with RTW. After non-traumatic ABI, there is strong evidence that independence in activities of daily living is positively associated with RTW and aetiology of stroke is not.
CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms earlier findings that after both traumatic and non-traumatic ABI injury related factors in the Emergency Department are not associated with RTW. In addition, it provides further evidence that personal factors after traumatic ABI and activity-related factors after non-traumatic ABI are strongly associated with RTW. Implications for Rehabilitation We found strong evidence for a significant association between RTW and personal factors (education level, unemployment) after traumatic ABI, and activities of daily living (ADL) after non-traumatic ABI. We advise to focus on work-related activities during the RTW process besides ADL-training and pay attention to and support patients at risk for not returning to work.

Source: Donker-Cools BH, Wind H, Frings-Dresen MH. Disabil. Rehabil. 2015.

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