Vocational rehabilitation for helping workers return to work after injuring their fingers, hand, or arm
What is the aim of this review?
We wanted to find out if vocational rehabilitation can help workers return to work after injuring their fingers, hand or arm.
There is no evidence provided by randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to say if vocational rehabilitation can help workers with upper limb injuries return to work. These studies are needed, and they should be conducted and reported according to agreed standards for high-quality research. They should describe the content of vocational rehabilitation in detail. They should also report the number of workers that have returned to work at the end of follow-up or the time it took for them to return to work.
What was studied in the review?
Workers who injure their fingers, hand, or arm often cannot continue working normally. In many countries law compels employers to help workers when injuries affect their work ability. This help is often referred to as vocational rehabilitation. Vocational rehabilitation refers to ways to help disabled workers return to work or to find a new job. Return-to-work can be supported by helping the injured worker cope better, by workplace adjustments, or by physical exercises. Although all these strategies are used in practice, it is still unclear which approach is best and in which circumstances. This is an update of a Cochrane review previously published in 2013.
What are the main results of the review?
We examined all the research published up to 30 August 2017. We wanted to include only studies that randomly assigned participants to receive either vocational rehabilitation or some other treatment. This way of conducting research, commonly known as RCT, is the best way to ensure that any measured improvement is really caused by the treatment. We did not find any RCTs that had studied whether vocational rehabilitation can help workers with upper limb injuries return to work.
How up-to-date is this review?
We searched for studies up to 30 August 2017.