Return to work and quality of life in severely injured patients

Disabil Rehabil. 2006 Nov 30;28(22):1399-404. doi: 10.1080/09638280600641392.


Background: Little is known about the long-term consequences of severe injuries in terms of return to productivity and quality of life.

Methods: In this study we focused on the return to work status and quality of life in 53 severely injured patients (AIS/ISS > or = 16, mean ISS 24, range 16 - 54), mean age 37 years, one to two years after the injury. Questions were asked concerning employment in the past and at present. Quality of life was measured by means of the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP) questionnaire. Injury-related parameters were analysed in order to study their relation with disablement.

Results: Of those patients who survived their injuries, 87% had resumed their former work. Only 10% of the patients received disability benefits. A mean SIP-total score of 6.7 was found, the mean SIP-physical score was 5.9 and the mean SIP-psychosocial score was 6.9. "No disability" (SIP score < or = 3) was found in 55% of the patients, whereas 11% of the patients reported "severe disability" (SIP score > or = 20). Age was a significant predictor of disablement (odds ratio 1.07). The Injury Severity Score (ISS), the length of hospital stay and the number of diagnoses did not predict disablement.

Conclusions: Although the results were obtained in a relatively small sample size, the return to work rate in the surviving severely injured patients appears to be excellent. The quality of life is good; the majority of patients are not disabled. Age (and not the ISS) seems to be a significant predictor of disablement.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Employment*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Length of Stay
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Trauma / rehabilitation
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Work Capacity Evaluation
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality
  • Wounds and Injuries / rehabilitation*