Shifting the Focus from Work Reintegration to Sustainability of Employment

The Case of Spinal Cord Injury and Acquired Brain Injury
Living reference work entry
Part of the Handbook Series in Occupational Health Sciences book series (HDBSOHS, volume 1)


Given the various functional limitations, work participation is a critical and fluctuating outcome in persons with acquired neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injury (SCI) or acquired brain injury (ABI). While there is an impressive body of research on factors related to return to work after SCI and ABI, evidence on sustained employment applying a life course approach is scarce and mainly available from qualitative research. Long-term work trajectories of persons with SCI and ABI are complex, and sustainability may depend on various factors, such as motivation, new employment identities, and supporting family members, employers, and coworkers. Flexible work schedules and adapted task profiles, an accessible workplace, and technical devices were reported as facilitators for sustained employment on the organizational level. To properly accommodate the often changing abilities after the initial RTW period and therefore to prevent premature labor market exit, a continuous “person-job-match” monitoring is recommended. The better understanding of how persons with SCI or ABI can be sustainably integrated in the labor market remains methodologically challenging, and large-scale longitudinal studies applying a life course approach are needed to gain more insights.


Sustained employment Return to work Vocational rehabilitation Neurological conditions Acquired brain injury Spinal cord injury 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swiss Paraplegic ResearchNottwilSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Health Sciences and MedicineUniversity of LucerneLucerneSwitzerland

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