We harp on and on about how we love working within a multidisciplinary team to help get our clients back to work – because it’s true! Having a cohesive group of professionals who are willing to collaborate makes all the difference in achieving positive outcomes.
Returning a client to work is not always a straightforward process. So for us as exercise physiologists, knowing when the right time to call in the help of a rehab provider is crucial. Timing is everything, particularly with a sensitive claim or someone who has been off work for a long period of time.
We value the input of our rehab provider friends greatly. These are some of the times that we most love having a rehab provider on board…
1. When returning to work becomes a potential option.
This is common in the case of a more complex or long-term claim. After an initial period of EP, the client themself may express an interest in returning to work – such as showing an interest in vocational support or talking about potential work options – or we might identify that they have started demonstrating capacity through what they can achieve during their sessions.
When work is on the horizon but the path to getting there is unclear, a rehab provider is the perfect facilitator to help us connect those dots. Ideally, at this point we would have also gained GP clearance for the client to start making a return to work, but if not, then they often have their finger on the pulse to get that sorted too!
2. When assistance is needed in implementing a return to work plan.
Rehab providers are a huge help to us when it comes to clarifying the needs of the workplace. This may be through the provision of a workplace assessment (to identify what tasks and responsibilities need to be fulfilled within that role) or through communicating with the employer to ensure that a return to work plan is suitable for both the client and the employer
It’s not uncommon for the client to experience communication difficulties when trying to work with their employer, especially if the client is not physically in the workplace at the time. Having someone who is able to get into the workplace to do a thorough assessment and speak to them directly makes the process a whole lot smoother! This point of communication also means that any plateaus in return to work progression can be addressed upfront, and that client can keep moving forward.
3. When a client is looking for a job with a new or different employer.
It is significantly harder to get a client back to work if they don’t have a job waiting for them. If they have been off work for a long time or are looking for a different career, this challenge is twofold!
A rehab provider can assist with this process by helping them to identify potential job options based on their skill set, helping them through the job-seeking process, assisting them to update their CV, and working on their interview skills. This may also involve seeking options for re-training if a new career is on the cards. Throughout this process, the rehab provider can communicate with us, so our exercise prescription is in line with any changes to their employment prospects.
How we can help our rehab provider friends too!
We are all about two-way relationships. We get to spend a lot of time with our clients, observing their movements, behaviours, and tolerance to both physical and psychological stressors. Every session is a mini assessment in itself – where we are able to gather useful information to feedback to the rehab provider.
And of course, we are always working hard within our speciality – helping those clients gain the physical capacity to meet the demands of their job!
We got some feedback recently from a rehab provider that one of our EP’s has been working with…
“Mark has been great to work with on a very complex claim. Although RTW outcomes were difficult to achieve, he has assisted the client in reaching her functional capacity goals and helping her with independent management of her condition. Five stars!”
Thanks to all those great rehab providers who work with us to achieve great outcomes for our clients together!
Author: Yolanda van Vugt
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