BACKGROUND: Return to work (RTW) is an important outcome in Total Knee Arthroplasty (TKA). At present, 70-80% of TKA patients return to work within three to six months.
OBJECTIVE: What are patients' perspectives regarding beneficial and limiting factors in RTW after TKA?
METHODS: Focus groups were formed in accordance with the Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Research (COREQ) checklist. Three major topics were explored: 1. What was beneficial for RTW after TKA; 2. What was limiting for RTW after TKA; and 3. What additional care would benefit RTW after TKA?
RESULTS: Data saturation was reached after four focus groups, comprising 17 participants-nine men and eight women (median age 58, range 52-65). The focus group study identified four main themes that contributed to a successful RTW namely rehabilitation (medical) like post-operative physical therapy, patient characteristics (personal), like motivation to RTW, occupational characteristics (work-related) like build-up in work tasks and medical support (medical) like availability of a walker or crutches.
CONCLUSION: According to participants, factors within the following four themes can contribute to a successful return to work: occupational, patient, rehabilitation and medical care. Incorporating these factors into the integrated care pathway for the "young" TKA patients may increase the chances of a successful RTW.