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Exploring the conditions of work and contextual mechanisms that influence return-to-work following work-related injury in a cohort of patient care workers in Massachusetts

Hospital Patient Care Workers (PCWs) are at increased risk of injury as a result of hazards in their work environment, psychosocial work stressors, workplace culture, the organization of their work, and their interactions with patients. Because of this, healthcare workers have some of the highest rates of injuries, workers’ compensation claims, and prolonged periods off work. It is critical to determine the mechanisms influencing post-injury return-to-work (RTW) outcomes.

This study will use a mixed methods approach aiming to: (1) examine the relationships between the conditions of work, individual worker factors, and other potential mechanisms in the RTW process that influence RTW outcomes following a work-related injury in a cohort of Boston hospital PCWs; and (2) explore the RTW experiences of such workers through qualitative inquiry.

The pilot’s findings will have implications for RTW and Total Worker Health interventions in the healthcare industry, provide recommendations regarding RTW policies and processes for healthcare workers in Massachusetts and the U.S., and guide future research studying mechanisms influencing RTW outcomes for hospital workers.