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J Burn Care Res. 2010 Jul-Aug;31(4):540-50. doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181e4d692.

Return to work after burn injury: burn-injured individuals' perception of barriers and facilitators.

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Departments of Neuroscience Psychiatry, Plastic Surgery and Burn Center, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to explore burn-injured individuals' perception of factors seen as facilitators or barriers in the process of returning to work after a severe burn injury. Semistructured interviews were prospectively conducted with 39 former burn injury patients, admitted to the Uppsala Burn Center between March 2000 and March 2007. The participants were employed or studying at the time of injury and were interviewed on average 4.6 years after the burn. The interview data were analyzed with qualitative content analysis. Factors acknowledged by the participants as facilitators and barriers to return to work (RTW) were identified and sorted into five categories: the Individual, Social Life, Health Care and Rehabilitation, the Workplace, and Social Welfare Agencies. Facilitators were perceived to a great extent as individual characteristics, such as own ability to take action, setting up goals in rehabilitation, having willpower, being persistent, and learning to live with impairments. The possibility of getting modified work tasks or a change of workplace, when having physical or psychological impairments, was also seen as facilitating factors. Some barriers experienced as delaying RTW were difficulties when ceasing pain medication, limited knowledge of wound care at primary health care facilities, lack of individualized rehabilitation plans, and lack of psychological support during rehabilitation. Former burn injury patients emphasized psychological resources and capabilities as facilitators in the RTW process. The need in rehabilitation for a coordinator and for assessment of work capacity, and not solely a focus on impairments, is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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