An Analysis of Time-Loss Duration Following Work-Related Traumatic Injuries to the Hand and Wrist
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Objective: The purposes of this thesis included: i) To explore the annual incidence and time-loss duration of traumatic, work-related injuries of four nature-of-injury (fractures, nerve lacerations, tendon lacerations/disruptions and amputations) and two part-of-body categories (hand and wrist); and ii) To identify the incidence and time-loss duration, and examine explanatory variables that were associated with time-loss duration for subjects with hand fractures. Methodology: Data on incidence, time-loss duration and explanatory variables were reviewed on claims accepted between January – December 2006 at WorkSafe-New Brunswick. Descriptive statistics and non-parametric tests were used to explore incidence and time-loss duration. Using a biopsychosocial framework, explanatory variables associated with time-loss duration were analyzed using Cox Proportional Hazards regression. Results: The incidence for hand and wrist trauma involving fractures, tendon lacerations/disruptions and amputations was low (3%). Incidence was significantly higher for fractures and for injuries to the hand, while time-loss duration was significantly higher for the wrist (p< .05). The incidence rate of hand fractures was low (1.5%) and average time-loss duration was high (92 days). Increased time-loss duration was associated with greater medical aid costs (used as a proxy for injury severity) older age and increased receipt of therapy (Physiotherapy/Occupational Therapy). Conclusions: The annual incidence of specific injuries involving the hand and wrist is challenging to compare to the literature since incidence is presented in many ways. Time-loss duration following hand and wrist injuries is highly variable. Time-loss duration for hand fractures exceeded reports in the literature and predicted values reported in disability duration guidelines. Consideration of the impairment, personal and environmental factors is warranted to provide a framework to the return-to-work process for all stakeholders involved in the care of the hand- and wrist-injured worker.