Time trend analysis of return to work after stroke in Denmark 1996-2006

Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2012 Jun;25(2):200-4. doi: 10.2478/S13382-012-0017-7. Epub 2012 Apr 10.


Background: In the period 1997-2005, the Danish government initiated a series of legislative changes aimed at facilitating RTW (return to work) in the Danish population. In the present study, we investigated the odds of being gainfully occupied ca. two years after stroke as a function of onset calendar year, 1996-2006.

Methods: All previously employed 20-57 year-old stroke patients in Denmark 1996-2006 (N = 19985) were followed prospectively through national registers. The analysis was controlled for the type of stroke and a series of demographic, structural and occupational variables.

Results: The odds for RTW increased significantly during the study period (P < 0.0001). The odds at the end of the period were more than twice as high as they were at the beginning, even after post hoc control for improved survival and decreased unemployment rates. The most conspicuous increase coincided with a change in the sickness benefit act that took place in 2005.

Conclusion: The study provides quite strong circumstantial evidence that the legislative changes had an effect on the odds of return to work after stroke. More direct evidence is desirable, but such can only be obtained through a randomized controlled study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Employment / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult