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J Hand Ther. 2018 Jul - Sep;31(3):315-321. doi: 10.1016/j.jht.2017.02.009. Epub 2017 Mar 22.

Experts' perspective on a definition for delayed return-to-work after surgery for nontraumatic upper extremity disorders: Recommendations and implications.

Author information

1
Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia; Brisbane Hand and Upper Limb Research Institute, Brisbane Private Hospital, Brisbane, Australia. Electronic address: research@susanepeters.com.
2
Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia; Department of Movement Sciences, MOVE Research Institute Amsterdam, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; School of Allied Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.
3
Brisbane Hand and Upper Limb Research Institute, Brisbane Private Hospital, Brisbane, Australia; Department of Orthopedic Surgery, School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia; Orthopaedic Department, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, Australia.
4
Department of Physiotherapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia.

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Descriptive study.

INTRODUCTION:

A delayed return to work (RTW) is often associated with poorer outcomes after a workplace injury but is ill defined.

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY:

To define delayed RTW after surgery for nontraumatic upper extremity conditions.

METHODS:

Experts were consulted to define delayed RTW and whether a universal time point can determine the transition from early to delayed RTW.

RESULTS:

Forty-two experts defined a delayed RTW as either a worker not returning to preinjury (or similar) work within the expected time frame (45%); not returning to any type of work (36%); or recovering slower than expected (12%). Two-thirds of experts believed that universal time points to delineate delayed RTW should be avoided.

DISCUSSION:

Multiple factors complicate a uniform definition of delayed RTW.

CONCLUSION:

Defining delayed RTW should be individualized with due consideration to the type of work. Time-based cutoffs for outcome measurement may not be appropriate with continuous measures more appropriate in research.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Decision analysis V.

KEYWORDS:

Carpal tunnel syndrome; Lateral epicondylalgia; Outcome measurement; Return to work; Rotator cuff tendinopathy; Work disability

PMID:
28341323
DOI:
10.1016/j.jht.2017.02.009
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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