Goal: Higher and faster rates of return to full functioning, work and other social roles

Research focus: Return to work and other social roles

Program leader: Associate Professor Venerina Johnston


After a motor vehicle accident, most people achieve a full recovery. However, for a small proportion of people, this is quite difficult or not possible. In the Facilitating Return to Pre-injury Functioning program of research, we want to be able to identify those at greater risk of non-recovery or non-return to work and to develop interventions that will assist these people maximise their recovery.

Hence, we have several projects under way:

  • Development of a brief screening tool to be used by providers to identify those at greater risk of non-recovery or non-return to work. Once this tool is developed, we need to test its predictive value in a group of people soon after their crash. Such screening tools will enable resources to be directed to those most in need.
  • We want to answer the question: ‘What are the return to work patterns of those recovering from a road traffic crash injury?’ To do this, we are planning a study to follow people involved in a motor vehicle accident from soon after the event for 12 months. The knowledge gained from this study will inform the strategies to be tested to improve recovery and return to paid work and other social roles;
  • To understand the challenges facing people returning to work and other social roles, we are planning series of focus groups and interviews with as many stakeholders as possible. These include injured claimants and their carers, health care providers, employers and case managers.
  • A systematic review of the barriers and facilitators for return to work after a road traffic crash using an ecological framework
  • What is the impact on physical activity in people recovering from a road traffic crash? To answer this question we plan to use wearable technology to monitor the physical activity of people soon after an accident.