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

Susan E. Peters*, Michel W. Coppieters, Mark Ross, Venerina Johnston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-321
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hand Therapy
Volume31
Issue number3
Early online date22 Mar 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

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

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