Helping individuals get back to work.
The occupational therapist has the ability to understand both the worker’s abilities and impairments and the physical, cognitive and psychosocial demands of a work position in order to ensure a successful return to work. Early return to work following injury or onset of disability promotes positive functional outcomes to the individual, while reducing disability costs for the employer.
The occupational therapist facilitates safe return to work of an individual following an injury through the following:
- Analysis of documentation such as functional capacity evaluations, vocational evaluation and job analysis.
- Meeting with employee and employer to discuss needs, expectations and plan, including work duties, schedules and possible modifications.
- Planning a gradual return to work program, specific to the needs of the employee and as agreed upon by the employer, and taking into consideration any recommendations from the individual’s medical and rehabilitation team.
- Regular monitoring of the individual’s progress and /or potential barriers or difficulties through scheduled telephone communications or visits to the work site.
In some circumstances, return to a pre-accident employment position is not possible in the short term or even long term recovery of the client. When this occurs, the occupational therapist works closely with a vocational consultant to assist the client to explore alternate work, education and/or volunteer opportunities, promoting skill development in areas of interest for the client in their future pursuits.