An Intervention Bundle to Facilitate Return to Work for Burn-Injured Workers: Report from a Burn Model System Investigation

Gretchen J. Carrougher, Sabina B. Brych, Tam N. Pham, Samuel P. Mandell, Nicole S. Gibran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rates of return to work (RTW) after burn injury vary. A 2012 systematic review of the burn literature reported that nearly 28% of all adult burn survivors never return to any form of employment. These authors called for interventions designed to assist survivors' ability to function in an employed capacity. In 2010, our burn center outpatient clinic instituted an intervention aimed to return injured workers to employment within 90 days of their insurance claims. The interventions include patient/family education focused on recovery rather than disability, employer contact and education by the vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselor, physician recommendations for work accommodations, provision of employee status letters, and Activity Prescription Forms (APFs). The purpose of this study is to report on the effectiveness of these interventions. Following institutional review board (IRB) approval, medical records of adults with occupation-related burn injuries and receiving care at a single regional burn center from June 2010 to July 2015 were reviewed. Data on patient and injury characteristics and outpatient VR services provided were collected. The primary outcome of interest was the percentage of patients who RTW; 338 individuals met study entry criteria. The VR counselor evaluated all patients. All patients received an employer letter(s) and APF documentation. Workplace accommodations were provided to more than 30% of patients. RTW rate was 93%, with an average of 24 days from injury to RTW. In an intervention bundle involving the patient, employer, Workers' compensation, and the burn clinic staff, injured workers achieved a high rate of RTW. Although we cannot correlate individual bundle components to outcome, we postulate that the combination of employer/employee/insurer engagement and flexibility contributed to the success of this program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e70-e78
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation

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