Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) has employment and economic consequences for patients, according to a study published online June 29 in JAMA Network Open.
Étienne Gaudette, Ph.D., from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and colleagues used data from the Transforming Research and Clinical Knowledge in Traumatic Brain Injury study involving patients with mTBI presenting to emergency departments. Patients with mTBI were enrolled from Feb. 26, 2014, to May 4, 2016, and were followed up at two weeks, and three, six, and 12 months after mTBI.
The researchers found that 59 percent of the 435 participants reported not working at two weeks after injury, and 17 percent reported not working at 12 months after injury. Overall, 21 percent experienced a decline in annual income. There was a significant association seen between work status at 12 months with postconcussion symptoms experienced at three months after injury (73 versus 89 percent of patients with three or more versus two or fewer symptoms reported working at 12 months after injury), but no association was seen with other injury characteristics. The likelihood of reporting working after injury was higher for those offered employer assistance in the first three months after injury compared to those not offered such assistance (at six months: 88 versus 78 percent; at 12 months: 86 versus 72 percent).
“Improved follow-up could lead to better symptom management and help patients regain functional status, which should translate into improved ability to work and lessen the economic burden,” the authors write.