Return to work following mild traumatic brain injury

J Head Trauma Rehabil. Sep-Oct 2014;29(5):443-50. doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000002.

Abstract

Objective: To examine factors relating to return to work (RTW) following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

Participants: One hundred and nine patients (Age: M = 37.4 years, SD = 13.2; 52.3% women) who sustained an mTBI.

Design: Inception cohort design with questionnaires and neuropsychological testing completed approximately 3 to 4 weeks postinjury.

Setting: Emergency Department of Tampere University Hospital, Finland.

Main outcome measures: Self-report (postconcussion symptoms, depression, fatigue, and general health) and neurocognitive measures (attention and memory).

Results: The cumulative RTW rates were as follows: 1 week = 46.8%, 2 weeks = 59.6%, 3 weeks = 67.0%, 4 weeks = 70.6%, 2 months = 91.7%, and 1 year = 97.2%. Four variables were significant predictors of the number of days to RTW: age, multiple bodily injuries, intracranial abnormality at the day of injury, and fatigue ratings (all P < .001). The largest amount of variance accounted for by these variables in the prediction of RTW was at 30 days following injury (P < .001, R = 0.504). Participants who returned to work fewer than 30 days after injury (n = 82, 75.2%) versus more than 30 days (n = 27, 24.8%) did not differ on demographic or neuropsychological variables.

Conclusions: The vast majority of this cohort returned to work within 2 months. Predictors of slower RTW included age, multiple bodily injuries, intracranial abnormality at the day of injury, and fatigue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fatigue / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Multiple Trauma / epidemiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Return to Work*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed