Purpose: This study investigated changes in quality of life (QoL) in relation to return to work among patients with acquired brain injury (ABI).
Method: The sample consisted of 1487 patients with ABI (63% men) aged 18–66 years (mean age 52) from the WebRehab Sweden national quality register database. Only patients who worked at least 50% at admission to hospital and were on full sick leave at discharge from hospital were included. QoL was measured by the EuroQol EQ-5D questionnaire.
Results: Patients who returned to work perceived a larger improvement in QoL from discharge to follow-up one year after injury compared to patients who had not returned to work. This difference remained after adjustment for other factors associated with improved QoL, such as having a university education, increased Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale scores and getting one’s driving licence reinstated.
Conclusion: Return to work is an important factor for change in QoL among patients with ABI, even after adjusting for other factors related to QoL. This is consistent with the hypothesis that having employment is meaningful, increases self-esteem and fosters participation in society. Thus, helping patients with ABI return to work has a positive influence on QoL.
Reference: Matérne, M., Strandberg, T., & Lundqvist, L.O. (2018). Change in quality of life in relation to returning to work after acquired brain injury: a population-based register study. Brain Injury.