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Title: The implementation and evaluation of a rehabilitation coordinator service for personal injury
Author: Davey, Christine Ann
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 7264
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2011
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In Britain each year thousands of people are injured in accidents on the roads or at work and pursue claims for personal injury compensation. Previous research has indicated that a significant number will have difficulty returning to work, or may never return. Contrary to popular belief, failure to return to employment may not be due so much to "compensation neurosis" as to a complex interaction of many factors. However, whatever the factors involved, it is evident that the longer a person is away from work following injury or illness the less likely he or she is to return. Nevertheless it appears that employment issues frequently are not considered during the recovery period, or are addressed at such a late stage that any help is unlikely to be useful. Moreover contact with vocational rehabilitation services which might assist people to return to work is poor. The aim of this study was to implement and evaluate a service specifically to help personal injury claimants return to work. The service comprised one person, acting as a co-ordinator, whose role was to help people identify and obtain assistance from those voluntary and statutory services which might facilitate their return to work. The service was evaluated within the context of a randomised controlled trial. People in the experimental group received help for six months during which time the control group received no help. An amendment to the design extended the period of help to the experimental group to 12 months and introduced a period of six months help for the control group after the six months re-assessment. Measures of outcome included perceived health status, level of anxiety and depression and various employment outcomes such as contact with services and return to work. Satisfaction with the service was also examined. Fifty people were recruited to the study. Random allocation on a ratio of 2:1 resulted in 33 people being allocated to the experimental group and 17 to the control group. The main comparison of outcomes at six months showed no statistically significant differences between the two groups except the control group registered lower scores for depression. The satisfaction survey showed that a high percentage of people were very satisfied with the service and valued the help they had been given. A number of factors were thought to contribute to the lack of positive findings at six months including a small sample size, which affected the ability to detect anything other than large "treatment" effects. Six months appeared to be an inadequate length of time in which to achieve beneficial outcomes and exploratory analysis, indicating an improvement in employment status for the experimental group at 12 months compared with six months, suggested this might be the case though no causal inference could be made. A qualitative analysis of the study indicated that people required much more help than merely linking them to services and much of this help, such as good training or re-training programmes, was outside the scope of the coordinator service.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Not available Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available