Return to work after specialized rehabilitation-An explorative longitudinal study in a cohort of severely disabled persons with stroke in seven countries: The Sunnaas International Network stroke study.


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Series/Report no

Brain and Behavior;Volume 8, Issue 8 August - 2018


Wiley Open Access

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Introduction: Stroke may impose disabilities with severe consequences for the individual, with physical, psychological, social, and work- related consequences. The objective with the current study was to investigate to what extent persons with stroke were able to return to work, to maintain their financial situation, and to describe the follow- up services and participation in social networks and recreational activities. Methods: The design was a prospective, descriptive study of specialized stroke rehabilitation in nine rehabilitation centers in seven countries. Semistructured interviews, which focused on the return to work, the financial situation, follow- up services, the maintenance of recreational activities, and networks, were performed 6 and 12 months post discharge from rehabilitation. Results: The working rate before the onset of stroke ranged from 27% to 86%. At 12 months post stroke, the return to work varied from 11% to 43%. Consequently, many reported a reduced financial situation from 10% to 70% at 6 months and from 10% to 80% at 12 months. Access to postrehabilitation follow- up services varied in the different countries from 24% to 100% at 6 months and from 21% to 100% at 12 months. Physical therapy was the most common follow- up services reported. Persons with stroke were less active in recreational activities and experienced reduced social networks. Associations between results from the semistructured interviews and related themes in LiSat- 11 were small to moderate. The study shows that education, age, and disability are predictors for return to work. Differences between countries were observed in the extent of unemployment. Conclusions: In this international multicentre study, return to work after severe stroke and specialized/comprehensive rehabilitation was possible, depending on the extent of the disability, age, and education. Altered financial situation, reduced social networks, and reduced satisfaction with life were common psychosocial situations for these patients.




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