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28.04.2021 | short report | Ausgabe 11-12/2021 Open Access

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 11-12/2021

Occupational reintegration after severe burn injury: a questionnaire study

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 11-12/2021
Vera Vorstandlechner, Daniel Langthaler, Katharina Ebenberger, Anna Pittermann, Gerald Ihra, Thomas Rath, Jakob Nedomansky, Gabriela Muschitz, Christine Radtke, Alexandra Fochtmann-Frana
Wichtige Hinweise
The authors Vera Vorstandlechner and Daniel Langthaler contributed equally to the manuscript.

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As a consequence of improved survival rates after burn injury occupational reintegration of burn survivors has gained increasing significance. We aimed to develop a precise patient questionnaire as a tool to evaluate factors contributing to occupational reintegration.

Material and methods

A questionnaire comprising 20 questions specifically evaluating occupational reintegration was developed under psychological supervision. The single-center questionnaire study was implemented in patients with burn injuries who were admitted to the 6‑bed burn intensive care unit (BICU) of the General Hospital of Vienna, Austria (2004–2013). The questionnaire was sent to burn survivors of working age (18–60 years) with an abbreviated burn severity index (ABSI) of 6 or greater, a total burn surface area (TBSA) of 15% or greater, and a BICU stay of at least 24 h.


A total of 112 burn survivors met the inclusion criteria and were contacted by mail. Of the 112 patients 11 (10%) decided to participate in the study and 218/220 questions (99%) in 11 patients were answered. Out of 11 patients 7 (64%) reported successful return to work and 4 of 11 (36%) did not resume their occupation. Advanced age, longer BICU and hospital stays, higher TBSA, burn at work, lower education, and problems with esthetic appearance seemed to impair patients’ return to their occupation.


When implementing the questionnaire, severely burned patients with higher age, lower education, and longer hospital and BICU stay seemed at high risk for failed reintegration in their profession after burn injury.

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