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Return to Work Practices and Research with Spinal Cord Injury: An Australian Perspective

  • Elias Mpofu (a1), Ashley Craig (a1), Michael Millington (a1), Gregory Murphy (a2) and Diana Dorstyn (a3)...


Post-injury return to work (RTW) is an important rehabilitation outcome regardless of injury type. With Spinal Cord Injury (SCI), the odds of successful RTW are lower than for the general population of work-injured. Australians living with a SCI have a higher RTW rate than many other developed countries, including the United States. Important influences on relatively higher post-injury RTW rates in the Australian context include its universal disability care policy, Australia's suite of no-fault accident insurance systems that allow for multi-faceted rehabilitation services to be provided to eligible individuals in addition to appropriate rewards for rehabilitation service providers. A combination of these systemic factors is important when delivering comprehensive rehabilitation services to those with catastrophic injuries, such as SCI. The empirical evidence on drivers of successful RTW post SCI is, however, limited in comparison to the evidence on interventions for enhanced coping following SCI. Future studies could consider the relative merits of specific RTW interventions with SCI contrasting policy and capitation systems as well as utilising study designs that take into account pre-morbid work participation and secondary health conditions.

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Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Professor Elias Mpofu, Discipline of Rehabilitation Counselling, Faculty of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney, Room T428, 75 East Street, Lidcombe, NSW 2141Australia. E-mail:


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The Australian Journal of Rehabilitation Counselling
  • ISSN: 1323-8922
  • EISSN: 1838-6059
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