Job coaching and return to work programs are conducted at the workplace; however, evaluation in a clinical setting is usually completed prior to the individual returning to work. The occupational therapist collaborates closely with the individual, employer, and treating physician or practitioners throughout the return-to-work program.
The occupational therapist’s involvement helps to guide and support the worker and their employer through a successful return to work following illness or injury. By understanding the physical, cognitive and emotional demands of the job, as well as the assessing the work environment, the occupational therapist ensures that a realistic plan and timeline is calibrated to the employee’s abilities in order to meet return to work targets. The occupational therapist then maintains a coaching role, meeting regularly with the employee and the employer to ensure progress in graduated return to work plans, and to address changes or issues that may arise in the workplace during this process.