Work disability after road traffic injury in a mixed population with and without hospitalisation

Janneke Berecki-Gisolf, Alex Collie, Roderick John McClure

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    Studies addressing work disability after road traffic injury are generally aimed at seriously injured hospital patients, and less is known about the disability burden associated with injuries not requiring hospitalisation. The aim of this study was to describe the distribution and determinants of work disability outcomes for patients with musculoskeletal and orthopaedic traffic injuries, including those not sufficiently severe to require hospitalisation. Methods: Persons injured in road traffic accidents in 2005-2007 claiming compensation via the Transport Accident Commission (Victoria, Australia) were included if they had compensated time off work, and their most serious injury was musculoskeletal or orthopaedic (n = 5970). Work disability outcomes were determined from income compensation payments over 17 months following the accident. Logistic regression models were used relating demographic and injury characteristics to work disability. Results: Of the injuries, 59 required hospitalisation; 15 required hospitalisation of >1 week. Long-term work disability was common with 32 of injuries resulting in work disability =6 months after the accident. The duration of work disability increased markedly with length of hospital stay. Those with no hospital stay accounted for 27 of all work disability days; those with =7 days in hospital (including no hospital stay) accounted for 71 . Female sex, age =35 years and early opioid prescriptions were also risk factors for work disability =6 months after the accident. Conclusion: The majority of work disability days were among patients with one week or less in hospital. Because (short) hospitalisation was relatively common after traffic accidents, the relative work disability burden of non-hospitalised injury is not as great as in a mixed injury aetiology population.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)129 - 134
    Number of pages6
    JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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