1 Forskningsenheden for Almen Praksis, Eksterne centre, Københavns Universitet2 Section of General Practice, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet4 unknown5 Section of Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet6 Forskningsenheden for Almen Praksis, Eksterne centre, Københavns Universitet7 Section of Occupational and Environmental Health, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
a three-year follow-up study in a Danish cohort of long-term sickness absentees
BACKGROUND: The chronic course of whiplash-associated disorder (WAD) has implications for both the individual and society. It has been shown that up to 50% of patients have not yet returned to work six months after a whiplash injury. We wanted to study the return-to-work (RTW) process in individuals sick-listed for more than eight weeks in six Danish municipalities. RTW in individuals sick-listed due to WAD was compared to that in those sick-listed for other musculoskeletal disorders (MSD). METHODS: Information about long-term sick-listed individuals in six Danish municipalities was retrieved from an existing database. Data on public transfer income were collected and the RTW process was followed on a weekly basis. Multivariate logistic regression analysis of RTW was done four times during the first three years after the start of sick-listing. RESULTS: One hundred and four individuals were sick-listed due to WAD and 3,204 individuals were sick-listed due to other MSDs. After 6 months, the RTW was significantly lower in the WAD group. OR for RTW in the WAD group was 0.29 (0.18-0.49) compared to the MSD group. The RTW process for both groups stabilised after two years of follow-up; 44% returned to work in the WAD group as compared to 58% in the MSD group. CONCLUSION: Sick-listed individuals with whiplash-associated disorder are less likely to return to work than individuals who are sick-listed because of other musculoskeletal disorders. In both groups, RTW stabilised after two years of follow-up.
Bmc Public Health, 2014, Vol 14, Issue 113, p. 1-7