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Brain Inj. 1990 Jan-Mar;4(1):49-56.

Return to work after rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury.

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Marianjoy Rehabilitation Center, Wheaton, Illinois 60189.


The relationship of medical variables and discharge functional status to vocational and educational outcomes was examined in 79 closed head-injured patients who were consecutively admitted to an inpatient rehabilitation hospital during a two-year period. A follow-up study, conducted after hospital discharge (median, 16.5 months), found that 66% (n = 52) of the patients had returned to work or school, while 34% (n = 27) did not. Patients were divided into return and non-return to work groups. Traditional variables included age, severity of brain-damage as characterized by CT head scan, duration of post-traumatic amnesia, duration of coma, length of stay and acute inpatient rehabilitation program. Discharge functional scores were analysed by t-tests and chi-square analysis. Results suggest that traditional factors of younger age, shorter length of coma, minimal CT head scan findings and shorter length of stay were significant contributors to educational/vocational outcome. Their significance was enhanced by discharge functional profile measurement of medical, physical and psychological/neuropsychological integrity. Those functional measures not significant were in social, vocational, recreational and communication areas. These factors may continue to improve over a longer period of time and should be tracked in the post-acute rehabilitation phase for their significance in return to work/school.

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