Brisbane Hand & Upper Limb


Expert consensus on facilitators and barriers to return-to-work following surgery for non-traumatic upper extremity conditions: A Delphi study.

Peters SE, Johnston V, Coppieters M, and Ross M.
Journal of Hand Surgery (European Volume) 2017; 42(2):127-136.
DOI: 10.1177/1753193416669263

This Delphi study aimed to reach consensus on important facilitators and barriers for return-to-work (RTW) following surgery for non-traumatic upper extremity (UE) conditions. In Round 1, experts (n=42) listed 134 factors, which were appraised in Round 2 and 3. Consensus (≥85% agreement) was achieved for 13 facilitators (high motivation to RTW; high self-efficacy for RTW and recovery; availability of modified/alternative duties; flexible RTW arrangements; positive coping skills; limited heavy work exertion; supportive RTW policies; supportive supervisor/management; no catastrophic thinking; no fear avoidance to RTW; no fear avoidance to pain/activity; return to meaningful work duties; high job satisfaction) and 6 barriers (mood disorder diagnosis; pain/symptoms at more than one musculoskeletal site; heavy UE exertions at work; lack of flexible RTW arrangements; lack of support from supervisor/management; high level of pain catastrophising). Future prognostic studies are required to validate these biopsychosocial factors and to further improve RTW outcomes.

The Institute enables collaboration between Researchers and Upper Limb Orthopaedic Surgeons.

The Brisbane Hand and Upper Limb Research Institute was established in 2010 to facilitate and coordinate upper limb clinical and basic science research across the private and public sector in Brisbane, Queensland Australia.