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Psychiatric Issues Help Determine Post-Stroke Work Life

Stroke survivors with psychiatric illness, previous part-time schedule less likely to go back to work

FRIDAY, March 28 (HealthDay News) -- Psychiatric morbidity is one of the factors that influences whether employees return to work after a stroke, according to research released online March 27 in advance of publication in the May issue of Stroke.

Nick Glozier, M.D., Ph.D., of the George Institute for International Health in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues analyzed data from 155 people who had previously held paid employment, survived at least six months after a first stroke, and completed the General Health Questionnaire, which screens for psychological symptoms, at one month.

Out of 210 previously employed survivors, 112 (53 percent) had returned to work at six months. Those with psychiatric morbidity at one month were significantly less likely to go back to work (odds ratio 0.39), the report indicates. Other adjusted factors that predicted not returning to work included a part-time work schedule prior to the stroke, and lack of functional independence soon after the stroke, the investigators found.

"This study demonstrates that a potentially treatable factor, early psychiatric morbidity, is a predictor of an important patient-related outcome. Given the minimal treatment for psychiatric morbidity reported and the poorer outcome of this group, this suggests a need for greater attention to this aspect of stroke sequelae. Specifically, there is a need for robust evaluations of interventions aimed at the prevention, early detection and effective management of psychiatric morbidity, with this important patient-related outcome as a useful end point," the authors write.

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