Factors associated with employment stability following traumatic brain injury, in a sample who have received comprehensive vocational rehabilitation

Lauren Libeson, Pamela Ross, Marina Downing, Jennie Ponsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: To quantify employment stability of individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who received comprehensive vocational rehabilitation (VR) using different measures to identify difficulties experienced and factors associated with employment stability. Materials and methods: 72 individuals with predominantly moderate-severe TBI were interviewed. Neuropsychological assessment scores were collected. Three employment stability measures were used: number of post-injury employers, duration with employer and average weekly hours. Descriptive and predictive analyses were performed. Results: 90.2% remained employed at time of interview (Mean = 4.83 years post-injury). However, participants worked significantly fewer hours, 63.9% had changed roles or employers at least once and only 51% achieved their pre-injury level of responsibility. 61% reported a high level of employer support. Self-reported difficulties included physical sequelae, memory problems and fatigue. Post-injury testing found impaired memory (34.4%) and processing speed (49.2%). After accounting for time since injury, demographic and employment variables (older age, male gender, higher pre-injury skill-level, higher level of employer support), higher level of injury-related difficulties and lower level of cognitive function significantly predicted employment stability. Conclusion: Injury-related difficulties impact employment long-term, necessitating ongoing work modifications. Individualised VR is important, not only to facilitate return to work but to support long-term employment stability after TBI.Implications for rehabilitation Being male was associated with working more hours, and having faster processing speed, lower levels of fatigue and ongoing physical sequelae were associated with a longer duration with the same employer. Initial return to work is often the first step on a long journey as injury-related difficulties can continue to impact work in the-long term and require lasting modifications to duties and working hours. VR should include ongoing follow-up to facilitate work modifications and support both the employer and the employee in adjusting to these. VR should be individualised to support the impact of the unique cognitive and physical limitations experienced by each individual with TBI, based on the needs and employment demands of each workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6325-6332
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Volume44
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • employment
  • employment stability
  • return to work
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • vocational rehabilitation

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