New Study Shows Inhalation Injury Significantly Impacts Long-Term Employment Rate of Burn Survivors
(Boston, MA) – A new study led by researchers from the Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System and members of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network looked at sixteen years of burn survivor data and found that individuals with inhalation injury were less likely to be employed at 24 months post-injury compared to survivors without inhalation. The report titled “Inhalation injury is associated with long-term employment outcomes in the burn population: findings from a cross-sectional examination of the Burn Model System National Database” was published in PLOS ONE. Inhalation injuries carry significant acute care burden including prolonged ventilator days and length of stay. However, few studies have examined post-acute outcomes of inhalation injury survivors.
“Little is known about the long-term impact of inhalation injury. With wildfires on the rise over the past few years, there is increasing interest in the effects of smoke inhalation. The burn survivor population provides a unique window into understanding the effects of smoke inhalation. In our study, we found that burn survivors that experience inhalation injury were 37% less likely to be employed at two years after injury compared to burn survivors without inhalation injury. This study sheds light on the potential downstream effects of smoke inhalation. The findings may help providers better understand the support and resources these patients and families may need,” said Jeffrey Schneider, MD, Study Principal Investigator and Director of the Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System and Medical Director of the Burn and Trauma Rehabilitation Program at Spaulding.
A total of 1,871 adult burn survivors enrolled in Burn Model System National Database from 1993 to 2019 with and without inhalation injury were examined. The outcome measures evaluate included employment status as well as physical health, mental health, and life satisfaction. Employment status was collapsed into two categories: working and not working. Not working included those looking for work, those not looking for work, homemaker/caregivers, volunteers, and retired. There were no significant differences between those with and without inhalation injury for the other outcomes examined.
This study was published as part of the work by the Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System (BHBIMS), one of four Burn Model Systems funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and dedicated to improving the lives of burn survivors. BHBIMS strives to provide the highest level of comprehensive burn care, beginning at the time of injury and extending through rehabilitation and eventual re-entry into community life. BHBIMS is also committed to conducting rigorous research, with a specific focus on the long-term functional and psychosocial outcomes of burn injury. The BHBIMS is a collaboration of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Boston University School of Public Health.
About Spaulding Rehabilitation Network
A member of MassGeneral Brigham Health System, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network includes Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, with a main campus in Charlestown the 2nd ranked rehabilitation hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report, along with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Cape Cod, Spaulding Hospital Cambridge, Spaulding Nursing and Therapy Center Brighton, and over 25 outpatient sites throughout Eastern Massachusetts. An acclaimed teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and home to the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spaulding is recognized as the top residency program in the U.S. in the 2020/2021 Doximity Residency Navigator. Spaulding also was recognized by the 2020 Disability Equality Index as a “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion.” For more information, visit www.spauldingrehab.org.
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