ABSTRACT: This study examines (1) return to work (RTW) and ability to work (ATW) rates, and the association with (2) psychiatric comorbidity and (3) socio-demographic, illness-related, vocational and rehabilitation-related characteristics in herniated disc surgery patients.
In this longitudinal observational study 305 consecutive patients took part in face-to-face interviews during hospital stay. 277 patients also participated in a 3-month follow-up survey via telephone (drop-out rate 9%). Psychiatric comorbidity was assessed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI-DIA-X). Calculations were conducted via Chi-Square tests, independent T-tests and binary logistic regression analyses.
40.1% of the herniated disc patients in this study were able to RTW, 44.4% had regained their ATW 3 months after surgery. Psychiatric comorbidity appeared to be an important risk factor for RTW and ATW. Other risk factors were lower educational qualification, unemployment status, a lower subjective prognosis of gainful employment, a higher number of herniated discs in medical history, cervical disc surgery, and the existence of other chronic diseases, a longer hospital stay and higher pain intensity. Patients who did not RTW, or did not regain their ATW participated more often in inpatient rehabilitation.
Identifying a high risk group for RTW and ATW at an early age is of utmost importance for the purpose of improving rehabilitation effects and to make a return to the work place easier. Specific interventions, such as social-medical counselling, pain therapy and management, as well as the assistance of mental health professionals during hospital and rehabilitation treatment are recommended for this risk group.
Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation 03/2011; 21(1):54-65. · 2.80 Impact Factor