Introduction: Physical disability presents unique challenges to the individual, family and community. One of these challenges is returning the individual to work. The current study looks at individuals with a mild-to-moderate physical disability 6 months post-discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and their employment status and perceived barriers to returning to work. Materials and Methods: Prospective study of consecutive Singaporean patients, aged 21 to 65 years, discharged from the acute inpatient Rehabilitation Medicine Service at Changi General Hospital with a mild-to-moderate physical disability, as determined by discharge Modified Barthel Index score, and their employment status 6 months after discharge. Results: There were 68 patients who met the study criteria; of these, 31 (45.6%) were successfully employed by 6 months post-discharge from inpatient rehabilitation. There was a statistically significant difference (P = 0.0004) between the 2 groups based on gender, with more males likely not to return to work as compared to their female counterparts. Conclusion: In this small prospective study, males were more likely not to return to work than females. Those of slightly younger age with more advanced education were more likely to return to work and fear of worsening of physical disability was the most common reason cited for not returning to work after a mild-to-moderate physical disability.
A new physical disability presents unique challenges to the individual, family and community. One of these challenges is employment and productive reintegration of the individual back into their community. A major goal of rehabilitation is returning the individual to their premorbid interests and activities including resumption of work.
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