Return to Work after Traumatic Hand Injuries: Medical, Personal and Work-related Factors

Oberfeld, E; Zwahlen, Marcel; Vögelin, Esther (2015). Return to Work after Traumatic Hand Injuries: Medical, Personal and Work-related Factors. Handchirurgie, Mikrochirurgie, plastische Chirurgie, 47(1), pp. 44-57. Thieme 10.1055/s-0034-1398661

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PURPOSE This study aimed to examine the work-related impact of open hand injuries, specifically, the amount of lost work days subsequent to the injury and factors associated with work-related rehabilitation. PATIENTS AND METHODS We retrospectivley included consecutive patients with acute hand injuries who were operated between 2008 and 2009 in the Division of Hand Surgery (n=435) at the Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery. Information was obtained from the medical records and via a self-reported questionnaire sent out in 2011. Patients younger than 18 or older than 65 years, as well as the unemployed were excluded from the study. Descriptive group analysis was used to establish statistical relationships between time off work (TOW) and possible influencing variables. Multiple linear regression was applied to analyse the impact of injury, personal and/or work-related factors on TOW. RESULTS The sample included 290 patients with a mean age of 38.9 (SD 13.2) years of whom 98.6% returned to work after a median absence of 45.5 days. Univariate analysis demonstrated an association of length of absence from work with socio-demographic, clinical and work-related factors. Multiple regression analysis indicated that the location of injury, the number of injured regions, the need for secondary surgery, age, and the type of occupation were independently associated with TOW. CONCLUSION Most factors associated with TOW after traumatic hand injuries could not be influenced. Possible interventions should probably target improved injury prevention, optimal clinical treatment and rehabilitation starting early after injury. Whether improvements in communication and enhancement of cooperation between the treatment teams, the workplace and the insurance carrier may support a staged and earlier return to work remains to be investigated.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Plastic and Hand Surgery
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Zwahlen, Marcel and Vögelin, Esther


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Doris Kopp Heim

Date Deposited:

13 Mar 2015 10:15

Last Modified:

09 Nov 2016 09:08

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