Objective: To explore the influence of workers' compensation coverage on injury patterns and return-to-work outcome in orthopaedic injuries of the extremities. Design: Prospective and follow-up study. Subjects: A total of 154 subjects were recruited and 37.7% of the injuries were covered by workers' compensation. Methods: Baseline data were obtained by questionnaire and chart review. The main outcome variable was time of first return to work. Subjects were followed up at 1, 3 and 6 months after initial interview. Cox proportional hazards model was used to analyse associations between potential predictors and return-to-work. Results: The workers' compensation group were most likely to be men employed in labour occupations and were most likely to sustain crushing injuries, or injuries from being struck by objects. The 6-month return-to-work rates for the workers' compensation and non-workers' compensation groups were 70.7% and 71.9%. Early return-to-work was associated with more years in higher education, and increased self-efficacy in both groups. Moreover, age older than 45 years and hospitalization less than 14 days were associated with early return-to-work in the non-workers' compensation group. Conclusion: The injury patterns of workers' compensation and non-workers' compensation groups differed, but the likelihood of return-to-work at 6-month follow-up was similar. More years of education and self-efficacy were positive predictors of return-to-work.
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