Getting patients back to work after on-the-job injuries is a major health issue in the U.S. According to the literature, most workers get back on the job without difficulty or disability. A small percentage of patients, however, do not recover quickly, and are responsible for the majority of expense. Predicting which patients are going to have difficulty is a common area of research, and is the focus of this current study from Canada.
In this study, the authors examined the records of 148 patients who had been off the job for over three months. The study found:
The authors stress that getting the patient back to work requires "examining the interactive relationship between the worker, the workplace, the social situation of the worker, and the resources available to the worker in dealing with the consequences of impairment or disability."
Crook J, Moldofsky H, Shannon H. Determinants of disability after a work related musculoskeletal injury. Journal of Rheumatology 1998;25:1570-1577.