News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 


Better Outcomes For Injured New Zealanders Than Ill Ones


Monday 18 March 2013

Better Outcomes For Injured New Zealanders Than Ill Ones: Otago Research

New Zealanders who fall ill experience significantly worse financial and work outcomes than those with a comparable injury, according to new University of Otago research.

Dr Sue McAllister of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine led the research for her PhD, conducting a comparative study of 109 people under the age of 65 years who had a stroke and compared their outcomes with 429 people who had a similarly debilitating injury.

The study, which is newly published in the international journal Social Science & Medicine, is the first to compare socio-economic consequences of different financial supports after illness or injury in New Zealand.

People with an injury, covered by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), are entitled to up to 80% of their weekly wages while recovering, plus treatment and rehabilitation supports. In contrast, those who have an illness receive treatment costs but no compensation for lost wages beyond limited means-tested benefits.

Study participants were followed up for one year to determine if their outcomes (personal income, income sufficiency to meet everyday needs, standard of living and paid employment) were similar. The two groups in the study were similar (through matching) in age, sex, and functional ability soon after the stroke or injury, so the differences in outcomes found are unlikely to be caused by differences between the two health conditions.

“We found that the median personal income declined by 60% over 12 months for the Stroke Group compared to only a 13% decline in the Injury Group. The proportion of the Stroke Group reporting a low standard of living and insufficient income to meet everyday needs was greater than the Injury Group, after 12 months,” Dr McAllister says.

Surprisingly, a significantly greater proportion of the Injury Group (79%) was back at work after 12 months compared to the Stroke Group (49%), she says.

“This is likely due to active support for return to work by ACC which was not available to the Stroke Group.”

Dr McAllister says a decline in socio-economic status after an illness has consequences not only on the individual themselves, but also on their family.

“The decline can also contribute to a downward spiral into poverty and ill health, therefore identifying ways to mitigate this decline is important.

“Our results show that the extra financial and return-to-work support, available through New Zealand’s ACC scheme, are likely to be the main factors associated with these outcomes.” says Dr McAllister.

She says the findings have implications for welfare policies.

“They suggest we need to give greater attention to rehabilitate people to return to work and independence after an illness such as a stroke, and to provide adequate financial support during the rehabilitation time to protect against decline in socio-economic status.”

Dr McAllister says the original recommendation made in the 1967 Woodhouse Report was for both illness and injury to become part of an ACC-type scheme.

“This never occurred and the apparent unfairness of this situation has been subject to considerable controversy over the years. Our study suggests that these concerns are indeed well-founded,” she says.

Funding: The injury group were recruited from the Prospective Outcomes of Injury Study which is funded by the Health Research Council of New Zealand (2007-2013); with co-funding from ACC (2007-2010). Funding for recruitment of the stroke participants came from the University of Otago, Dunedin School of Medicine and Division of Health Sciences.

Publication details:

Do different types of financial support after illness or injury affect socio-economic outcomes? A natural experiment in New Zealand.

Dr Susan McAllister, Dr Sarah Derrett, Dr Rick Audas, Professor Peter Herbison,

Professor Charlotte Paul

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago

A copy of the paper can be found at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.02.041

www.otago.ac.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

Theatre: The F Word: Sex Without The 'ism'

Sex without the 'ism' Okay, so the sexes are equal in the eyes of the law. What the F happens now? More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Don’t Eat The Fish

On 'The Catch' by Michael Field What the ecologically edible lists don’t appear to take into account – and they should – is slavery... It’s not an easy read, but it’s definitely near the top of my listicle of “5 Political Books You Must Read This Year”. More>>

ALSO:

Caracals: Small Cats With Big Ears Arrive At Wellington Zoo

Visitors to Wellington Zoo will be able to see New Zealand’s first Caracals in the Zoo’s new Grassland Cats habitat, with a special visitor opening day on Saturday 27 September. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Classics - Tales From Moominvalley
Can’t speak for the reading end of it but the Moomins ( or maybe the story about Margaret Wise Brown) were the most enjoyable subject to think about and write about during these whole first 50 issues of Werewolf. For that reason – and because the Moomins always reward re-reading – I’ve decided to reprint it. The only added element is a link to an interesting hour long documentary about Tove Jansson. More>>

ALSO:

Repping In The Pacific: All Blacks And Manu Samoa To Play Historic Apia Test

The All Blacks will play Manu Samoa in Apia on Wednesday 8 July next year as part of both teams’ preparations for Rugby World Cup 2015. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Health
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news