Identifying factors associated with prolonged recovery and return to work following musculoskeletal injury
The extent of physical incapacitation, pain and general disability that individuals endure post-motor vehicle or work-related injury varies tremendously. The unpredictable duration and nature of recovery from physical (e.g. musculoskeletal) injury challenges compensation system goals around facilitating recovery and return to work (RTW). Some with moderately severe injuries return reasonably quickly, while others with seemingly more minor injuries show a protracted recovery period. Evidence suggests that recovery and RTW for those who have been on compensation for over 6-12 months is even more complex and difficult. If we are to develop more individualised, targeted rehabilitation programs and interventions that have a greater chance of facilitating recovery, we first need to identify the factors associated with prolonged recovery and work absence, and then work with those that are amenable to change. This project has several components that can be further developed and explored by interested students. An example is to retrospectively contrast baseline and follow-up data elicited by a purpose designed assessment tool for a group of individuals who RTW within 6 months of injury, and a group who take longer than 12 months.