Identifying predictors of return to work and the duration of time off work in first responders affected with musculoskeletal injuries or mental health issues
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PurposeTo identify predictors of return to work, duration of time off work, and claim closure for first responders experiencing injuries or illnesses, and summarize the claim data.
MethodsFirst responder claims collected between January 2012 and July 2017 were obtained from a disability management company. Known predictors of return to work were extracted from the data including age, sex, diagnosis, years of service, claim lag, medical report lag, and the return-to-work duties. Survival analyses were performed to identify predictors of return to work and claim closure using the Cox proportional regression analysis. Log-rank tests were performed to identify predictors that affected the rate of return to work and claim closure. Summary statistics were performed for the injury and return-to-work data.
Results60 of the 67 (89.6%) identified first responders returned to work within the data collection period. Musculoskeletal injuries predicted an increased likelihood of returning to work (hazard ratio = 2.0, 95%CI = 1.14-3.60) and a shorter duration of time off work (37 days on average) compared to mental health issues. Everyday of claim lag and medical report lag predicted a 2% decrease in likelihood of return to work. Returning to work was the only predictor of claim closure. 45 (67.2%) first responders returned to their pre-absence duties. 22 (32.8%) mental health claims and 45 (67.2%) injury claims were identified.
Conclusions89.6% of first responders returned to work, although only 67.2% returned to their pre-absence duties. Predictors of return to work included injury type, as first responders with musculoskeletal injuries returned to work sooner, and claim and medical lag delayed the return to work.
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