Factors Affecting Return To Work After Injury Or Illness
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 12:00 AM

Work disability is a major personal, financial and public health burden. Predicting future work success is a major focus of research.  To identify common prognostic factors for return-to-work across different health and injury conditions and to describe their association with return-to-work outcomes, Medline, Embase, PsychINFO, Cinahl, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the grey literature were searched. Systematic reviews addressing return-to-work in various conditions and injuries were selected. Eligible studies were critically appraised using the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network criteria to identify low risk of bias.             

Of the 36,193 titles screened and the 94 eligible studies reviewed, 56 systematic reviews were accepted as low risk of bias. Over half of these focused on musculoskeletal disorders (MSKD), which were primarily spine related (e.g., neck and low back pain). The other half of studies assessed workers with mental health or cardiovascular conditions, stroke, cancer, multiple sclerosis or other non-specified health conditions.

Expectations of recovery and return-to-work, pain and disability levels, depression, workplace factors, and access to multidisciplinary resources are important modifiable factors in progressing return-to-work across health and injury conditions. Employers, healthcare providers and other stakeholders can use this information to facilitate return-to-work for injured/ill workers regardless of the specific injury or illness. Most of the RTW literature has focussed on MSKDs, especially LBP. “Seven principles for successful RTW” have previously been established for MSKDs by the Institute of Work and Health in 2007:

(1)   the workplace has a strong commitment to health and safety
(2)   work accommodation
(3)   support the returning worker without disadvantaging co-workers and supervisors
(4)   supervisors are trained in work disability prevention and included in RTW planning
(5)   the employer makes early and considerate contact with injured/ill workers
(6)   RTW coordination, and

(7)   employers and healthcare providers communicate with each other about the workplace demands.

These guidelines were intended for all workplaces and RTW professionals. 

Source:  http://chiro.org/wordpress/2016/09/factors-affecting-return-to-work-after-injury-or-illness/